UK sets aside $76.9M for innovative disaster response solutions

A search and rescue team from the U.K. prepares to board a chartered flight to Haiti to help with the earthquake disaster response. The U.K. Department for International Development will contribute 48.5 million pounds to support projects focused on developing ways to assist people affected by disasters. Photo by: Michael Haig / DfID / CC BY-NC-ND

The United Kingdom is keen to boost the use of innovation and cutting-edge technology in responding to major disasters around the world.

The U.K. Department for International Development is set to contribute 48.5 million pounds ($76.9 million) over the next three years to the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, a multidonor grant-making facility managed by Save the Children. This contribution will support projects focused on developing new ways to assist people affected by earthquakes, famines and floods.

Projects that DfID’s contribution is expected to fund include the development of new smartphone applications, use of satellite technology for mapping purposes and the invention of innovative sanitation devices.

This support for the innovation fund is part of DfID’s strategy to advance the development and deployment of new technology in its humanitarian response. This strategy is in line with the United Kingdom’s campaign to integrate disaster resilience in its aid programs by 2015.

In addition to encouraging new solutions to disaster response, the strategy seeks to collect evidence and research on improving accountability and aid effectiveness. It proposes the establishment of a “virtual” research and innovations team that will review existing approaches to identify gaps in the humanitarian and resilience knowledge-base. This team will be led by DfID’s chief scientific adviser.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.