Research projects set to improve people's health in humanitarian crises

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02 April 2014

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The Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme is awarding grants to eight pioneering research projects, including an examination of the effectiveness of simplified psychological support delivered by supervised 'para-professionals' in conflict-affected areas, and a study to validate a novel cost-effective method for pain control after earthquakes.

The grant recipients, who will be working with a range of academic and operational humanitarian partners, will receive over £1.9 million in total over two years. This is the R2HC programme's first round of funding since it was launched in June 2013 to support research to strengthen the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises.

The £8m R2HC programme is funded equally by the Wellcome Trust and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) overseeing the programme's execution and management.

Daniel Davies, R2HC's Programme Manager, said: "These eight projects represent the first round of world-class research that will be funded under the R2HC programme to strengthen the evidence base on effective health interventions in humanitarian crises."

Dr Jimmy Whitworth, Head of Population Health at the Wellcome Trust, said: "All of the funded proposals are outstanding in terms of the relevance and robustness of their plans to improve population health in emergency situations. They have also described strong partnerships between health researchers and the agencies on the ground, which will be crucial for the success of these projects."

As part of its second call for proposals, opening on 26 May 2014, the programme will support applicants in identifying suitable partners and building effective research collaborations. Workshops will be held in Addis Ababa on 30 April 2014 and Bangkok on 15 May 2014.

Image: French voluntary hospital, Eritrea. Credit: N Durrell McKenna/Wellcome Images

Clare Ryan
Senior Media Officer
Wellcome Trust
T +44 (0)20 7611 7262
Notes for editors
More information on the individual research projects is available through the ELRHA website at
The second call for proposals will close on 9 July 2014.
About Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC)
The Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme is part of the response to the UK Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (HERR) report published in 2011. The HERR report found that humanitarian responses are often driven by immediate need, and recommended more investment in rigorous research and evaluation to better understand what works in meeting diverse humanitarian challenges. The R2HC programme is a core component of DFID's wider Humanitarian Innovation and Evidence Strategy.
The R2HC programme:
  • commissioned a Humanitarian Health Evidence Review and an Ethics Review and Framework in 2013 (both of which are available through the ELRHA website) to inform potential research proposals
  • encourages world-class research through facilitating new research collaborations between operational humanitarian agencies and research institutions
  • has established a rapid response facility, set aside for preparing and undertaking pre-approved research projects/consortia in the acute phase of an emergency.

R2HC funding decisions are made by a committee of 11 leading independent experts in the field of humanitarian work and public health research. 

About Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA)
Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) is the first collaborative network dedicated to supporting partnerships between higher education institutions and humanitarian organisations and partners around the world. ELRHA aims to see a global humanitarian community where humanitarian actors actively collaborate with higher education institutes to develop highly professional responders, share expertise and carry out research that noticeably reduces risk and ensures that those suffering from the impact of disasters receive more timely, relevant and sustainable assistance.
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.
About the UK Department for International Development (DFID)
The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty. DFID is ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women, and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.

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