Challenges and Opportunities for Operations Research to Improve Humanitarian Decision Making and Collaboration

The complexity of the humanitarian systems and the high stakes for doing good with less have created a great deal of interest in the operations research community to address challenging problems faced by our societies and make a difference.  In this talk, I will present some research problems and discuss how operations research can support humanitarian decision making at different levels. The focus will be on designing effective partnerships among humanitarian stakeholders for strengthening disaster preparedness and response capacity. As widely discussed in the literature, there exist several barriers and challenges for collaboration and coordination in humanitarian supply chains. However, given the current crises and future challenges, developing effective partnerships among key humanitarian stakeholders at international, national, and local levels is needed more than ever. I will introduce strategies and methods from insurance theory and supply chain management that can support designing implementable partnerships. I will discuss my experience in working with practitioners in these projects.