The mini-conference was well-attended and brought together more than 30 distinguished speakers and panelists, including researchers and practitioners from prominent institutions across the world (INSEAD, Indiana University, DePaul University, University of Gothenburg, Hanken School of Economics, University of Groningen, BI Norwegian Business School, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Ozyegin University, WU Vienna, Bilkent University, University of Vienna, KU Leuven, Sabanci University and ETH Zürich).
Toward empirical research in humanitarian operations management
In the mini-conference's opening remarks, Professor Bahar Yetis Kara of Bilkent University and Professor Maria Besiou of KLU briefed the participants on the broad spectrum of humanitarian operations challenges that would be covered in the eight plenary sessions. The conference was structured to allow speakers to engage in panel discussions that looked beneath the surface and explored the diversity of experiences that the audience brought to the conference sessions after presenting their work.
Following the welcoming remarks, the conference kicked off with a panel discussion on the current state of affairs and future of humanitarian operations. The panel consisted of the editors of three top-tier journals that have a specific focus on humanitarian operations: Journal of Production and Operations Management, Journal of Humanitarian Logistics & Supply Chain Management, and Journal of Operations Management. The panelists gave a comprehensive overview of the developments in research methods, data, and topics that exemplify recent publications in their respective journals. The editors and researchers discussed the current trend away from mathematical modeling toward empirically grounded and practitioner-driven research methods.
The other six sessions covered a variety of important topics such as disaster preparedness, pre-positioning, post-disaster needs assessment, and donations in humanitarian operations. In closing, the participants discussed the next steps for producing research that has both methodological rigor and relevance for the real problems in humanitarian aid. Overall, the feedback on the mini-conference was very positive and the participants enjoyed the opportunity to meet researchers from different universities and countries, exchange ideas, and network.
More information about Professor Maria Besiou.