Grand Challenges Canada: Creating Hope in Conflict (Humanitarian Grand Challenge)


United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Grand Challenges Canada 


Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

For More Information

Request for Proposals


The Request for Proposals seeks life-saving or life-improving innovations to help the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted by humanitarian crises caused by conflict. These innovations will involve a connection to the private sector and input from affected communities in order to provide, supply, or locally generate safe drinking water and sanitation, energy, life-saving information, or health supplies and services to help conflict-affected people. 

The Humanitarian Grand Challenge is focused on addressing the most acute needs in conflict-affected areas that have the potential to be solved by innovation in one or more of the following four areas:

(1) safe water and sanitation;

(2) energy;

(3) life-saving information; or

(4) health supplies and services.

Innovations must enable local solutions, serve local needs and delivery gaps, overcome common delivery barriers in conflict settings, or improve on the timeliness and cost efficiency of current humanitarian delivery methods. The focus areas are described in detail in the Request for Proposals document (also found under "Attachments" section below).


Eligible applicants include social enterprises and other recognized institutions (e.g., non-profit organizations and for-profit companies) that are formed and legally incorporated, that can successfully execute the activities in their respective technical area, and that are capable of receiving and administering grant funding. Sole proprietorships are not eligible for funding.

A project can have only one Project Lead, who must be affiliated with the institution from which the proposal is being submitted.

A Project Lead may only be listed on one (1) application to this Request for Proposals. An institution may be the applicant on multiple applications, provided all applications have different Project Leads.

Applications must include all required information. Only complete applications will be considered by the Review Committee.

Successful project teams will include both individuals who understand the unique context of conflict-generated crises, and those who are capable of developing, testing, refining and transitioning to scale their innovation to produce transformative impact for people in conflict-generated crises.

Funding Availability

This Request for Proposals will fund approximately 10–15 Seed Projects at up to $250,000 CAD, along with basic acceleration support, over a maximum period of twenty-four (24) months.

By the end of the seed award, innovators who have demonstrated proof of concept of the idea, developed a plan for scale and sustainability, and attracted commitments from key stakeholders and partners may be invited to apply for Transition To Scale program funding. This Request for Proposals will also fund approximately 2-4 Transition To Scale innovations of up to $1,000,000 CAD, plus acceleration support, over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months, to refine, test and implement innovative solutions that have achieved proof of concept. Eligible applicants are those who have achieved proof of concept, either after seed funding or during the initial call, and should submit Letters of Intent for the Transition To Scale process. Successful Letters of Intent for transition-to-scale funding must demonstrate engagement, collaboration and/or approaches designed with or by the private sector in its design, evaluation or implementation, and are required to have matching funds (cash/cash equivalent) of at least 25% to satisfy the matching requirements. Private sector actors are often uniquely effective at quickly and cost-efficiently producing or delivering goods or services that cannot be otherwise supplied by traditional forms of humanitarian assistance. 

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Two years with the start date of Seed Projects being December 2018 and the start date of Transition to Scale Projects being early 2019. 

Special Notes

There are contractual obligations associated with submitting materials to Grand Challenges Canada (as outlined in the Request for Proposals document) that must be discussed with the Office of Research Services contact prior to submission. 


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Please submit a signed OR-5 form and full application package to

External Deadline

Registration Deadline: Applicants must create an account through Grand Challenges Canada’s Community Portal ( 

External Deadline

Application Deadline: Applications must be submitted through the Grand Challenges Canada's Community Portal no later than 11:30am EST. 

Invitations for full applications will be received in July 2018 (Transition to Scale) and September 2018 (Seed Projects). Please notify immediately if invited to full application. The internal deadline will be 2 weeks prior to the Grand Challenges deadline.

How to Apply

Submitting an Application/Letter of Intent There are two distinct submission streams: one for seed (via application form) and one for Transition To Scale (via Letter of Intent). Both seed applications and Transition To Scale Letters of Intent MUST BE submitted through Grand Challenges Canada’s Community Portal ( In order to gain access to the Portal, applicants must first create an account using the following link: Create an account.

Once you have created an account, please allow up to one (1) business day for Grand Challenges Canada to process your account request. Once your information has been processed, you will be emailed login credentials to access the Portal to submit your application/Letter of Intent. To return to the Community Portal to continue working on your application at any time, please visit

Seed applicants will be prompted to answer a series of questions about their innovative idea, goal, objectives and activities, approach, framework for measuring success, and budget. 

Transition To Scale applicants, via Letter of Intent, will describe their innovation, evidence of proof of concept, pathway to scale and sustainability, and proposed use of funds. 

For Questions, please contact

 For technical support, please email the Community Portal Technical Support Team at If you have a programmatic question, do not email the Community Portal Technical Support Team, please first reference the “Frequently Asked Questions” document and then contact before April 5, 2018. 

Office of Research

Carolyn Osborn, Director, Grants & Contracts
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52935

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