To help make planning and implementation of humanitarian aid more effective, ETH Zurich, EPFL and the ICRC launched the Engineering for Humanitarian Action initiative in December 2020. Its goal is to make knowledge and technologies from both universities available where they are needed most: during humanitarian crises.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) will support the initiative with a CHF 5 million grant, as part of the Foundation’s over $750 million global Health Initiative.
This grant offers financial support to ETH Zurich and EPFL projects, both for project design and implementation. It also encompasses training programs for ICRC staff who are responding to crises in the field. The projects that will be funded aim to resolve logistical issues in health care provision, protect refugees through the use of biometric data, make ICRC construction projects more sustainable, create new digital infrastructure to protect against cyberattacks, and more.
“The most important scientific advances start from real human needs, from a process of discovery imbued with humanity, openness, and optimism,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “Bringing humanity and science closer together, as this collaborative initiative will do, is how we ensure that technological development helps improve life for all.”
“The collaboration shows how digital technologies and scientific expertise support the ICRC to carry out its important work and thus help people in need,” said ETH President Joël Mesot.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing the real-world impact of the projects already completed or in progress, as well as new proposals,” added EPFL President Martin Vetterli. “Our researchers are clearly motivated to contribute to a better world in these turbulent times.”
Learn more about the Engineering for Humanitarian Action initiative.