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In this working paper, we call for greater recognition and new thinking about military actors as a serious subject of study within humanitarian innovation discourse. In so doing, we seek to contribute to the Humanitarian Innovation Project’s (HIP) broader interdisciplinary agenda of rethinking the frontiers of the humanitarian system, while also encouraging the further conceptual development of a nascent debate around military actors and humanitarian innovation. This paper presents preliminary findings to be developed further through subsequent research and consultative feedback. We draw from case studies to illustrate the opportunities, risks and challenges of innovation diffusion and exchange between militaries and humanitarians, but these are not meant to comprise a comprehensive ‘inventory’ of all available data. It is, rather, our aim to generate interest in further research on the topic. Our focus is on two leading models of military innovation management, the US and UK military forces.



Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

Publication Date



RSC Working Paper Series, 113

Total pages