Join the Humanitarian Action Fellowship (HAF) Program

The Humanitarian Action Fellowship (HAF) offers a unique opportunity to forge research partnerships between EPFL, ETH Zurich, and humanitarian organizations. As part of the Engineering for Humanitarian Action Initiative (EHA), in collaboration with the ICRC, the fellowship seeks to explore research potential or to pilot, scale, or implement research findings for real-world humanitarian impact.

Program Highlights

  • Explore your research idea with humanitarian actors at the ICRC.
  • Contribute to the development of technologies that address pressing humanitarian challenges.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You are a PhD student or PostDocs from ETH or EPFL
  • Your research project helps the ICRC to address humanitarian action challenges
  • Security protocols of all participating institutions are followed

Funding and Duration

  • Engage in a 2-6 months placement at the ICRC
  • PhDs/PostDocs will be paid according to ETH/EPFL salaries
  • 70% salary coverage by ETH4D/ECT, with 30% covered by their own research group
  • Support for field trips are discussed on a case by case basis

Apply Now

Submit all application documents to the selection committee at least 10 weeks before the planned start date. Applications are considered on a rolling basis.

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

Application Documents:

  • Completed HAF Application Form with project description and timeline
  • Application proposal incl. explanation of relevance to ongoing research collaboration with ICRC
  • ICRC invitation letter specifying work location and start/end dates
  • Support letter from ETH/ EPFL chair or group leader


How will the fellowship be set up from an administrative/finance perspective?

  • Fellows will maintain their affiliation with universities and receive compensation through them.

Can project leads apply if they have already received HAC funding? How will double funding be prevented?

  • No double funding is possible to avoid confusion. Projects eligible for funding can be HAC extensions.

When will the applications be open and closed?

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, assuming funding availability for most applications.

Who selects the fellowship applications?

  • Formal check will be done by EPFL for proposals from EPLF and by ETH for their applications:
  • One representative from each institution’s coordination team (EPFL, ETH Zurich, ICRC) will be responsible for application selection, assuming adequate funding.

Is the fellowship program exclusive to ICRC or open to other organizations as well?

  • For now, the fellowship program is limited to ICRC. Could be opened to other organizations after the pilot phase.

What administrative aspects need to be defined at ICRC? (NDA? IP? Security?)

  • Specific administrative details, including Non-Disclosure Agreements, Intellectual Property, and Security protocols, will be established within the ICRC framework.

Is field deployment possible for ICRC fellows? Will travel fees be covered?

  • While field deployment is desirable, its feasibility within ICRC will be evaluated. Travel fees may be covered if applicable.

Can the fellowship be part-time, such as 50% over a year?

  • No, a part-time arrangement over a year is not feasible. Fellows should be primarily based at ICRC during the fellowship period. If opting for 50%, the maximum duration is still 6 months.

Please let us know if you have any more questions or if there’s anything else we can assist you with! Contact us here.