SSH Rate

Research Grant "Entrepreneurship and Humanitarian Aid"

The French Red Cross has been a pioneer of humanitarian action for over 150 years. In 2013, pursuing its engagement for a fairer and more humane world, the French Red Cross created the French Red Cross Fund. This endowment fund is dedicated to the promotion of research work on the methods of humanitarian action in transition[1], and on the links between humanitarian and social fields.

In order to guide and encourage these efforts at reflection and innovation, the Fund has decided to join forces with the Compagnie Fruitière Fund to invite applications for a postdoctoral fellowship on specific themes. The Compagnie Fruitière endowment fund lends its support to local communities by promoting access to health and local economic development. This is manifest in its charitable work through the creation of hospitals for local populations and the employment of local medical personnel, and in its commercial actions by the choice of a strong policy of social and environmental responsibility.

Research theme

A number of factors encourage rethinking the relationship between entrepreneurship and the humanitarian sector. First of all, NGOs from developing countries are innovating. Some, like the Bangladeshi NGO BRAC or certain national societies of the Red Cross, draw inspiration from the social and solidarity economy or by the private sector in order to generate the income necessary for their autonomy and the development of their missions. Others create new networks, testing new modes of governance or investing in research and development, like the Senegalese NGO ENDA or Alima.

Moreover, whilst the challenges remain numerous, and namely that of peace, and whilst we can still see significant differences between countries (particularly between countries rich in natural resources and others), more and more African countries are experiencing good economic dynamism. Against a backdrop of emergence, windows of opportunity are opening up, enabling the economic and humanitarian sectors to work together on new models. This is attested by the action of corporate foundations in Madagascar or philanthropic foundations in West Africa.

Finally, the “localisation of aid”, put forward during the Global Humanitarian Summit, suggests a progressive transfer of international sponsors’ funds towards organisations from beneficiary countries. According the IFRC[1], this reorientation towards local actors is the key to efficiency, given that currently only 1,6% of aid goes directly to local and national NGOs.

It is therefore of the utmost urgency to better understand, by way of specific initiatives, how humanitarian organisations from developing countries can proceed, and how private entrepreneurs can contribute to a humanitarian revival. In short, what role can the private sector play in reducing vulnerabilities in developing countries? Which economic models benefit NGOs from developing countries in order to sustain and perpetuate their missions? Which innovations can the social and solidarity economy bring, to act in the place of traditional humanitarian actors, or in concert with them? How can civil society build on the private sector to develop its independence and work towards a greater autonomy?

Geographic research zones

These themes can be approached transversally or in the context of geographically-targeted research on a specific zone or country. In partnership with the Compagnie Fruitière Fund, the French Red Cross Fund has identified four priority countries for this call for applications. These target countries represent an empirical starting-point for research.  They are:

  • Burkina Faso,
  • Cameroon,
  • Ivory Coast,
  • Senegal.

The priority countries do not correspond to eligibility criteria with regards to nationality.

Access to the field will be determined by a precise risk evaluation submitted along with the application and updated before departure, with prior reference to the recommendations of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development.

Application conditions

Funding allocated by the Fund is intended to cover the cost of one year of research, in the framework of an individual postdoctoral fellowship. Postdoctoral researchers are awarded a fellowship according to a base scale of 20,000 € per year.

It is possible to submit one application per call. However, each candidate may receive only one fellowship and, if necessary, will have to choose.

Only those candidates complying with the following conditions may apply:

  • Candidates must hold a doctorate (French doctorate, Ph.D. or foreign doctorate of equivalent level) in the field of social science (in particular in political science, anthropology, sociology or philosophy) or medical science (medicine, public health);
  • Candidates must have defended their thesis less than 10 years ago;
  • Candidates must not hold a permanent position more than half-time;
  • Candidates must contribute to advancing research on the themes or geographic areas selected by the Fund, or must have published in other fields, thereby showing their capacities in conducting high-quality research.

There are no conditions concerning nationality. The Fund will nevertheless give priority to applications from researchers living in the countries corresponding to the priority geographic areas.

Projects presenting a multidisciplinary approach are strongly encouraged.

Generally speaking, a researcher wishing to apply must:

  • Write the research paper in French;
  • Be presented by a research or academic institution;
  • Demonstrate motivation in the application (value of the proposed research and impact for the institution);
  • Comply with the award conditions and terms of use of the funds granted by the Fund, as stated in this document;
  • Pre-enrol in accordance with the requirements below before 23 March 2017;
  • Return the completed application form to the French Red Cross Fund with the attached documents before 17 April 2017.

Funding regulations and requirements

The Fund does not provide researchers with any financial or logistical support beyond the allocated fellowship. Each researcher is solely responsible for the logistical management and material conditions of his or her work.

All selected researchers commit to respecting the requirements, signing the charter and allocation convention for Fund financing.

Researchers commit to respecting the laws and regulations in force in the research country, especially concerning their entries and departures from the field, and to subscribing to civil responsibility insurance, health and repatriation cover in the event of movement abroad and to all obligatory social security contributions applicable in their home countries.

Researchers commit to respecting the Fund’s scientific calendar regarding the deadlines for report submissions and working papers. They will have the opportunity to present their work orally, during the day workshops organised by the Fund.

The financing or cofinancing by the French Red Cross Fund and its partners would be mentioned in the event of any articles or books being published based on the research carried out in the context of the fellowships. Reciprocally, any use or dissemination by the Fund of research carried out would be credited to the author, who remains the owner of his or her work.

The Fund transfers 90% of the fellowship in three instalments: in the first month of research, and on reception of each of the two progress reports. The remaining 10% is transferred on receipt of the two working papers by the Fund.

The financed research period begins on September 1st of the fellowship year. However, the transfer of the first instalment of the fellowship is determined by written confirmation by the researcher indicating the beginning of their research. Any delay following September 1st must be justified and will result in a delay of the first instalment until this confirmation is received. Any delay or breach of professional ethics which calls into question the trust between the researcher and the Fund by its unjustified nature, or the feasibility of the study within the limits defined, may lead to the cancellation of funding.

The allocation of the second and third installments depends on the expressed will, reaffirmed on behalf of the researcher, to continue their research, by means of two progress reports to their supervisor and to the Fund’s scientific advisor. The researcher must notify the Fund without delay of any premature end to their research. Hence, in the absence of reaffirmation of their expressed will to continue with their research, the transfer of funds will be suspended. The Fund reserves the right to ask for the reimbursement of all or part of the funds already allocated. In the same way, any delay in submitting the reports, and any breach in professional ethics which calls into question the trust between the researcher and the Fund by its unjustified nature or scope may lead to the cancellation of funding.

The applicant commits to reporting any possible conflicts of interest.

It is understood that the views and opinions expressed by the researchers in articles or books based on this research are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the French Red Cross Fund.

Application date
10 Apr 2017
Date of residence
1 Sep 2017
1 year
Europe France Paris Île-de-France
Humanities Philosophy Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Geography International Relations Law Political science Social Anthropology Sociology Other Medicine
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 10 years
Award granted
€ 20.000