Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid

Details of this prize which aims to develop high-tech solutions for humanitarian aid.

And the winners are...

The winners of the EIC Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid were been announced by Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, at the European Research and Innovation Days on 24 September 2020. The prize rewarded the best, proven, cost-effective, tech-based solutions for humanitarian aid in the following categories: shelter and related assistance; water, hygiene and sanitation; energy; health and medical care; and “open”.

We received 52 applications and 12 outstanding projects were shortlisted for the final. The winners, one per category, each received €1,000,000.

  • Shelter and related assistance
    LHP, developed by the South African SME Lumkani, is a low-cost solution providing community-wide alerts for fires in settlements such as slums or refugee camps. Watch video
  • Water, hygiene and sanitation
    LORAWAN monitoring by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offers real-time solutions for remote monitoring of water tankers and reservoirs to improve the effectiveness of water trucking programming globally. Watch video
  • Energy
    BRIGHT Move by the Norwegian SME Bright Products AS provides refugees with light and energy thanks to an affordable, recyclable and rapidly deployable phone charging device combined with a solar lantern. Watch video
  • Health and medical care
    TeReFa, developed by the French non-profit organisation Handicap International, provides affordable, high quality prosthetic and orthotic devices produced through digital and 3D scanning and printing technologies. Watch video
  • Open Category
    Odyssey2025, developed by the French non-profit organisation Handicap International, deploys drones to improve the efficiency and safety of land release in mine clearance (allowing the land to be used again), while reducing costs and ensuring sustainability. Watch video

News alert: EIC Horizon Prize on Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid: Commission awards five outstanding solutions

The future is what we make it

The challenge to solve

The challenge is to develop innovative solutions for the delivery of humanitarian aid based on frugal application of advanced technologies.

The European Union and its member states are major humanitarian donors. Humanitarian crises and disasters have increased in number, complexity and severity over the last 25 years.

Given the scale of today’s crises and disasters, funding to cover humanitarian needs cannot keep up.

The humanitarian system is being challenged to do more, for more people, and at greater cost. Cooperation between international organisations and NGOs responding to crises, end-users and local actors, research and scientific communities and the private sector is crucial in this respect.

Introducing innovative solutions for the delivery of humanitarian aid could help enhance the humanitarian response, which is particularly important for those in a most vulnerable situation.

Solutions should be developed through a frugal innovation approach, and should be novel and based on advanced technologies and services, demonstrating the added value and potential of one or more advanced technologies (no Information and Communication Technology-only solutions).

Tested and proven in a humanitarian aid delivery, these solutions should be safe, scalable, resource-sustainable, replicable and usable in other contexts.

Innovative solutions should be inclusive, i.e. co-created and developed by different stakeholders with local actors, and accessible to a large number of people in a given context of humanitarian aid delivery settings.

Rules of the Contest pdf

Template for Applications pdf

Affordable high-tech for humanitarian aid infographic pdf

Prize value

€5 million

The prize will be allocated in separate awards of €1 million each in 5 distinct thematic areas: shelter and related assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene, energy, health and medical care, other forms of humanitarian aid (open category).

Expected results

The prize should result in more cost-effective, sustainable and higher-quality innovative solutions, which lead to an optimised use of humanitarian funding and an enhanced response to urgent needs in humanitarian aid.

Eligibility and award criteria

The contest is open to all legal entities (i.e. natural or legal persons, including international organisations) or groups of legal entities.

The prize will be awarded, after closure of the contest, to the contestants who, in the opinion of the jury, demonstrates a solution that best meets the following cumulative criteria.

  • new solution tested successfully in a real environment, with a demonstrated potential of adaptability and scalability under different humanitarian aid settings and responding to the needs of those in a most vulnerable situation (taking age, gender, disability and minority into consideration)
  • quality and sustainability of the solution based on frugal application of advanced technologies, including the technological components (no ICT-only solutions)
  • affordability and improved cost-effectiveness for beneficiaries and organisations responding to crisis
  • engagement with end users and perspective of a business case


  • 2017 fourth quarter – contest opens
  • 2020 first quarter – deadline to submit applications
  • 2020 third quarter – prize awarded