© ICRC/Benjamin Mast, 09.04.2020, Caption: Roraima, Boa Vista. In an effort to fight COVID-19, ICRC distributed hydrated ethyl alcohol and more than 18,000 pairs of gloves for medical procedures aimed at ensuring the proper hygiene of the Field Hospital and the safety of the health professionals., Reference: V-P-BR-E-00410

Apply for a Humanitarian Action Challenges (HAC) research grant!

The Humanitarian Action Challenges is a joint initiative between EPFL, ETH Zurich, and the ICRC, which supports project-based research on effective solutions for a greater impact of humanitarian action. These grants fuel research initiatives in science and technology, addressing urgent humanitarian concerns.

If you want to learn more about past and current HAC projects, click here.

Eligibility Criteria

Teams need an EPFL or ETH Zurich applicant with a PhD and an ICRC partner. Complementary partners from ETH domain (ETH Zurich, EPFL, EAWAG, EMPA, WSL, PSI) or other humanitarian organizations are encouraged to join.

Funding and Duration

Projects of 6 to 24 months can secure CHF 50,000 to CHF 300,000. Applicants contribute at least 25% of the requested funding as matching funds.

Apply Now

Applications can be submitted from 01 December 2023 – 21 March 2024.

If you are an EPFL researcher, please follow this link to apply, if you are an ETH Zurich researcher, please follow this link.


How do we, as EPFL researchers, get in contact with ETH researchers and/or ICRC members to work on a proposal?

How do we, as ETH researchers, get in contact with EPFL researchers and/or ICRC members to work on a proposal?

How can I initiate the process/conversation if I am working at ICRC?

  • You can directly contact the EHA coordination team at ICRC- Fabrice Lauper and Elodie Schindler to discuss your idea and they will put you in contact with the relevant lab.

Our project is quite similar to another (past/current) HAC project. Can we still apply?

  • Yes, there no limitation in terms of number of research project on specific topics. A new research project should ideally build on the outcomes of previous research (HAC or not). A limitation might however be the availability of ICRC subject matter experts to get involved on several projects. This needs to be discussed with the ICRC.

How involved are the ICRC partners? Does a letter of support suffice or do they actively participate in the research project?

  • Formally research projects need a letter of support from the ICRC to be eligible. It is however highly recommended to involve them both in the project design and in the research implementation. This will increase the likelihood of the projet to have a good buy in by humanitarians and to have humanitarian impact. In order to increase the active involvement of ICRC staff, an amount of max CHF 30’000 can be be integrated in the project to support ICRC.

Could we apply with a research project based in/targeted at Switzerland?

  • As the mandate of the ICRC is related with the protection and assistance of victims of armed conflicts, it is not very likely that the ICRC would be willing to get involved in a project in Switzerland.