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DFID Research Strategy: Humanitarian disasters and emergencies research
by Department for International Development (DFID)
Given the increasing scale and severity of humanitarian crises, the need for new approaches and innovations is greater than ever. DFID is committed to supporting innovation and the improving ways of responding to humanitarian crises around the world.
DFID undertakes its own research and analysis of humanitarian innovation to establish where the gaps are and support crucial and underfunded areas of innovation wherever possible. Two of our key policy commitments are to work toward making humanitarian research and innovation central to DFID’s research and evidence work, and secondly, to use innovative techniques and technologies more routinely in humanitarian and disaster response.
It is vital that the use of science in predicting and preparing for disasters is improved internationally, and we are working to ensure that scientific data is used to reduce the risk of disasters. At the heart of our strategy is the goal of building resilience so that communities around the world are better able to withstand shocks.
DFID is taking the following steps to ensure we are better prepared for disasters:
- Establishing a ‘virtual’ humanitarian research and innovations team, under the direction of DFID’s Chief Scientific Adviser, to draw on all relevant professions (not just humanitarian). The team will review existing innovative approaches and identify gaps in the humanitarian and resilience knowledge-base.
- Supporting the Humanitarian Innovation Fund aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian response. It is managed by Enhanced Learning and Research for Humanitarian Action, and provides small grants for operational, academic and private sector actors at all stages of the innovation process.
DFID has also funded the following projects that seek to strengthen the overall response to humanitarian disasters:
- The NGOs and Humanitarian Reform Project aims to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian response, by improving leadership, co-ordination, predictability and accountability of funding for humanitarian disasters.
- The Effective Health Care programme has played an important role in the development of the Cochrane Collaboration’s Evidence Aid project. This project is a resource for people and organisations who plan for and respond to natural disasters and major health care emergencies. It points people to the existing online collections of evidence-based research tailored specifically to individual disasters, and highlights the need for similar resources in areas such as shelter, communication, construction, education, security and support for displaced people.