School awarded £7.5m to help safeguard the health of victims of humanitarian crises

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is to lead a major project that aims to strengthen the support given to victims of humanitarian crises, such as war or natural disasters.
Migrants walking

Funded through The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Research Councils UK Collective Fund, the £7.5m RECAP (Research capacity building and knowledge generation to support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics) project will bring together leading organisations in the UK and around the world to shape and improve humanitarian policies.

With NGO partners Médecins sans Frontières, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the largest NGO in the world – Bangladesh’s BRAC – RECAP will conduct studies and training in some of the world’s humanitarian crises hotspots. The network will include the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon, the University of Sierra Leone, LSE, Oxford University and the Refugee Law Initiative in the UK.

RECAP aims to strengthen research capacity and capability to generate knowledge on how to improve decision-making and accountability. This will help aid organisations improve their preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics.

RECAP will be led by Bayard Roberts, Professor in Health Systems and Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Professor Roberts said: “Humanitarian crises can cause death, disease and mental health and reproductive health problems. Through the chaos, aid organisations bring essential health services – and dignity – to the victims, but in such a tough environment it can be hard to stand back and reflect how support could be better delivered. However, if the health of those caught up in natural disasters or war is to be protected, responses must be robustly examined and improved.

“RECAP is an important new collaboration that will help fill crucial knowledge gaps on delivering health and protection services in humanitarian crises. We are delighted to have been awarded this funding and look forward to working with our partners around the world. Together, the network aims to generate and collate vital data which will hopefully lead to the development of new, strong policies that could make a difference to the lives of thousands of people around the world.”

GCRF is one of the most ambitious international research programmes ever created. It is supporting projects in the range of £2 – 8 million over four years - in total £225m has been invested across 37 interdisciplinary projects to address challenges in fields such as health, humanitarian crises, conflict, the environment, the economy, domestic violence, society, and technology.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The UK’s research and innovation system is world leading, and at a time when the pace of scientific discovery and innovation is quickening, we are placing science and research at the heart of our Industrial Strategy to build on our global leadership and ensure the UK continues to be a nation of science and technical progress.

“By sharing our expertise with countries around the world, and investing £1.5bn to 2020/21 in the Global Challenges Research Fund, we stand committed to helping developing countries tackle some of the greatest global issues of our time.” 

Other projects GCRF will fund include developing low cost technologies for safe drinking water in developing regions, and Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy.