Skip to main content
European Innovation Council
News article22 March 20233 min read

European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation: first edition kicks off

The prize will be awarded to organisations and companies that are developing technology to deliver better quality humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people affected by crises and natural hazards.

The Commission launched the first edition of the European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation (InnovAid) at the European Humanitarian Forum, on 21 March 2023.

The European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation (InnovAid), supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, recognises the European actors that have developed game-changing and lifesaving technological solutions which have enhanced the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of humanitarian response. The prize is aimed at incentivising change and inspiring other humanitarian actors to scale up actions and foster innovation.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, who announced the launch of InnovAid, said:

As humanitarians, we have a duty to innovate where possible, to help reach as many people in need as we can with the resources at our disposal. I’m pleased to be able to launch this new prize for Humanitarian Innovation, which will recognise the European companies and organisations whose technologies have changed the way we deliver aid and have saved lives in crises around the world.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

Breakthrough innovation must benefit people’s lives, even more those of vulnerable people affected by crisis. With the new EIC Prize, we support and celebrating the innovators that are delivering more efficient and effective humanitarian aid, and are unleashing new alternative use of technologies and products.

The contest will award three prizes. The winner will receive €250 000 (ranked 1st), while the two runners-up will receive €150 000 and €100 000 for the applications ranked 2nd and 3rd.

The competition is open to companies, humanitarian non-governmental organisations and other legal entities established in one of the EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories) or in a country associated to Horizon Europe.

A jury of independent experts will evaluate how the applicants are pushing the boundaries of technological innovation in humanitarian emergencies by looking at the following criteria:

  • Innovating by using new technologies to address the needs of those in a most vulnerable situation;
  • Delivering quality and sustainability of the solutions compared to existing practices;
  • Assuring affordability and cost effectiveness and offering better value for money compared to existing solutions;
  • Engaging with end users by ensuring their involvement in the design of tools that impact them.

Further details and exceptions can be consulted in the rules of contest.

The contest is open for applications from 21 March (00:00 CET) until 3 October 2023 (17:00 CET)

An online info session for potential applicants is scheduled on 23 May, registrations will open in April. Check the InnovAid webpage for updates.


Supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, this is the first edition of the European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation Awards (InnovAid).

Humanitarian emergencies are increasing year by year in number, complexity, and severity and funding to cover humanitarian needs cannot keep up. To meet these rising needs, innovative technological solutions, which improve the efficiency and effectiveness of aid, are crucial. Innovaid recognises organisations that have developed innovative solutions for the delivery of humanitarian aid, that are cost-effective, simple to use and re-use, and scalable. The prize provides a mark of recognition for innovative organisations and brings enhanced visibility to their innovations, facilitating their redeployment at scale. InnovAid builds on the previous EIC Prize for Affordable High Tech in Humanitarian Aid, awarded in 2020.

InnovAid is one of the five EIC Prizes granted under Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation framework programme. The prize is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, and the winners are chosen following an assessment performed by a panel composed by high-level independent experts.


Publication date
22 March 2023