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


This program is sponsored through a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with support from Grand Challenges Canada.


Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge

For More Information

More information on activities, timelines, funding, and the selection process can found at the following links:

Additional Policy documentation to guide your application process can be found at the following links:


This 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; and/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. Innovations that help to maintain services and infrastructure, avoiding further deterioration are also welcome.  Detailed descriptions of the focus areas can be found in Request for Proposal document.

This Request for Proposals has two streams:

  • Seed Projects test new ideas and approaches to humanitarian assistance, to determine whether or not they are effective.
  • Transition to Scale Projects have strong proof of concept that the proposed solution works in conflict settings.

The Humanitarian Grand Challenge partners are committed to furthering principles of gender equality in the projects funded, with the following objectives:

  1. advancing women's equal participation with men as decision-makers in shaping the sustainable development of their societies;
  2. supporting women and girls in the realization of their full human rights; and
  3. reducing gender inequalities.

Female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.


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.

Seed Projects must demonstrate potential relevance or opportunities for collaboration with the private sector.

Transition to Scale Projects must demonstrate engagement, collaboration and/or approaches created with, or by the private sector in their design, evaluation or implementation.

Funding Availability

Seed Projects

  • Up to 25 Seed Projects will be awarded funding of up to $250,000 CAD each 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.

Transition to Scale Projects

  • Up to 5 Transition to Scale Projects will be will be awarded funding of up to $1,000,000 CAD each plus acceleration support, over a maximum of twenty-four (24) months, to refine, test and implement innovative solutions that have achieved proof of concept. 
  • Applications must demonstrate engagement, with or by the private sector, and are required to have matching funds (cash/cash equivalent).

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Seed Projects: Two years with the anticipated start date in June 2020

Transition to Scale Projects: Two years with the anticipated start date in September 2020

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.

External Deadline

Applicants must create an account and register via the Grand Challenges Canada’s Community Portal (

Internal Deadline

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

External Deadline

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

Notification of application status will be made in January 2020

How to Apply

There are two distinct submission streams, one for Seed Projects and one for Transition to Scale Projects. These 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 will describe their innovation, evidence of proof of concept, pathway to scale and sustainability, and proposed use of funds. 


For Questions, please contact

If you have a programmatic question, please first reference the “Frequently Asked Questions” document and then contact before July 5, 2019. 

For technical support only, please email the Community Portal Technical Support Team at


Office of Research

Carolyn Dowling-Osborn, Senior Manager, Grants & Contracts
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x52935

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