In 2021, I was pleased to receive a grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Lloyds Register to investigate safer complex systems in humanitarian supply chains.
The internationalization of supply chains and networks has brought with it
increased complexity, vulnerability and uncertainties. Supply chains
during disaster response and in crisis zones are safety-critical, in that any
disruption has severe impacts on consistent provision of life-saving aid.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerability of these supply chains,
and humanitarian organizations globally experienced this as a complex
This research seeks to understand the ways in which COVID-19 impacted
global humanitarian supply chains, through a series of semi-structured
interviews to collect and codify the experiences of humanitarian
practioners. Through the codifying of anonymized responses, this
research will identify 'unsafe' and 'safe' coping mechanisms utilized
during complex systems failure (Feb-Oct 2020).
This research anticipates finding that engaging with emerging
alternatives - such as local manufacturing and diversification of supply
chains - mitigates unsafe coping mechanisms