Our Vision

A world equipped to mitigate the impact of humanitarian crises


Our Mission

To improve humanitarian outcomes through partnership, research, and innovation.

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Our Approach

Elrha’s work is guided by the following core values:

  • Improving outcomes for crisis-affected people is at the heart of our work.
  • People have a right to quality humanitarian action informed by robust evidence.
  • Supporting collaboration and partnership, including with crisis-affected people, improves the quality, impact and uptake of research and innovation.
  • Creativity, exploration, and informed risk-taking is essential to learn and bring about change.
  • Research and innovation should always be undertaken within a robust and appropriate ethical framework.
  • Evidence must be made widely accessible, particularly to end-users, to achieve the greatest possible impact.

Our Global Network

Elrha is a facilitator and an enabler: we bring diverse communities together to address pressing humanitarian challenges. Our ability to impact on humanitarian policy and practice is supported by the strength and expertise of our global stakeholder network. This includes organisations and individuals interested in improving humanitarian outcomes through research and innovation.

Key stakeholder groups include the global humanitarian and research communities, private sector actors, national and regional governments, and funders of research and innovation.

Above all else, our primary stakeholders are people affected by crises. Through this strategy we endeavour to improve the opportunities for people affected by crisis to influence our work and engage with our funding opportunities and research outcomes.

Ensuring Rigour & Relevance

In every major programme that we deliver we work with our stakeholder networks to identify and recruit global experts as advisers and decision-makers.

Elrha’s credibility comes from the quality and independence of our Programme Boards, Funding Committees, Technical Working Groups, Technical Reviewers, and humanitarian and research partners.

Through these groups we draw on the collective expertise of hundreds of individuals globally.

Our Work

We work to achieve our vision through three streams of work:

1. Enabling Partnership

We enable people to work effectively together on research and innovation programmes.

2. Driving Research & Innovation

We invest in the highest quality research and innovation to address pressing humanitarian challenges.

3. Transforming Practice

We commit to sharing quality research and innovations within our stakeholder communities to improve humanitarian policy and practice.

Our Work

1. Enabling Partnership

We enable people to work effectively together on research and innovation programmes.

Our work provides opportunities and expertise to support the humanitarian community to develop and sustain effective research and innovation partnerships.

We work with our funding partners to design programmes that support research and innovation structured around the principles of collaboration and partnership.

Elrha will

  • Provide resources and guidance on effective partnering approaches for research and innovation in humanitarian contexts.
  • Create space for a diverse range of existing and potential stakeholders, including crisis-affected communities, to explore and develop collaborative approaches to research and innovation.
  • Build the evidence base and demonstrate the value and impact of research and innovation partnerships in addressing humanitarian challenges.

Enabling Partnership - Case Studies

Elrha facilitates multi-stakeholder processes that stimulate innovative approaches to longstanding humanitarian challenges


Within the humanitarian innovation arena there is a growing acknowledgement that the private sector can offer valuable skills and perspectives to help develop more impactful solutions to humanitarian needs. In 2015, we hosted an exploratory workshop that brought together leading humanitarian practitioners and researchers working on gender-based violence (GBV) with human-centred creative and design agencies.

This event was part of our wider Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) initiative on GBV, and has proven to be a useful approach that enabled these different communities to utilise each other’s expertise to explore the potential for innovative approaches to GBV programming. Following the workshop, most of the groups convened were able to successfully secure seed funding from the HIF to develop their partnership.

The successful brokering of these partnerships demonstrates the value and the need for Elrha to continue to create the space for actors that wouldn’t traditionally collaborate in order to develop creative solutions to challenging humanitarian issues.

Our Work

2. Driving Research & Innovation

We invest in the highest quality research and innovation to address pressing humanitarian challenges.

Under this strategy Elrha will lead a new collaborative and multi-disciplinary process to identify a set of collectively agreed global priorities for research and innovation to address increasing and changing humanitarian needs.

Elrha believes that this work could greatly improve coordination and increase the impact of investments in humanitarian research and innovation globally.

These priorities will also be used to inform the development of Elrha’s own research and innovation funding programmes.

Elrha will

  • Seek and support teams that are motivated to undertake high quality research and innovation.
  • Increase visibility of and improve coordination between the global research and innovation communities around pressing humanitarian challenges.
  • Build strong partnerships with those who fund research and innovation to ensure coherent and sustainable resources are invested in tackling emerging challenges.
  • Design tailored mechanisms to support high quality, timely and appropriate research and the development and testing of appropriate solutions.

Driving Research & Innovation - Case Studies

Elrha rapidly responds to emergencies by supporting research

In the acute phase of an emergency there is often insufficient evidence on what interventions and types of support are most effective to save lives and reduce suffering. Elrha has created a mechanism that allows pre-approved research teams to respond in the first 48 hours of an emergency, enabling research to be undertaken when life-saving decisions matter most.

During the Ebola crisis in 2014, Elrha worked closely with our partners the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust to launch a special research call designed to directly support the unfolding humanitarian response in affected countries.

Our expertise in grant management, supported by our global network of humanitarian health researchers, meant we could immediately engage research teams to conduct studies addressing critical needs.

The research outputs  were rapidly used in the response, and are now informing policy and practice to ensure better preparation for future public health emergencies.


Our Work

3. Transforming Practice

We commit to sharing quality research and innovations to improve humanitarian policy and practice.

Elrha builds and sustains relationships between those who produce and use research and innovation for humanitarian action. A nuanced understanding of the dynamics between key stakeholder communities, both within and outside of humanitarian policy and practice, contributes to the effective communication and uptake of promising ideas.

Through each of our programmes we work to better understand and influence the multi-dimensional relationships between humanitarian research, innovation, policy and practice. This enables us to work with diverse stakeholders and to identify and enhance networks for sharing and developing new ideas and knowledge.

Elrha will

  • Convene producers and users of humanitarian research and innovation around pressing challenges to share, learn and collaborate.
  • Ensure all of our funded research is accessible, including to end users, both through open access conditions and by supporting ‘research-to-practice’ translation.
  • Provide practical tools and guidance to improve the communication of Elrha’s supported projects and approaches.
  • Work with our networks to actively disseminate research and innovations, supporting our funded partners to achieve uptake, impact and scale.
  • Capture the individual and collective impact of our research and innovation on addressing humanitarian challenges.
  • Champion informed risk taking and creativity as fundamental to improving practice.

Transforming Practice - Case Studies

Elrha creates practical tools based on our projects’ experience and learning to improve humanitarian action.


Through our Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) we support organisations and individuals to invent, test and scale innovative ideas aimed at improving humanitarian practice. Many of the projects supported by the HIF have graduated from our early stage funding to deliver tangible and widespread improvements in practice. These projects represent a rich resource of learning and experience for the wider humanitarian system.

With the growing interest in innovation within the humanitarian community, we identified a critical need for greater guidance on how to manage innovation processes effectively.

Together with leading practitioners and policy makers working with innovation, we developed the seven principles for humanitarian innovation management.

These principles have been developed and tested against real world examples, and a set of collective critical success factors have been developed for each. We envisage this work will feed into efforts to improve system-level conditions for innovations, as well as guide practitioners already working to push forward new ideas.

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