Research & Policy

Research & Policy

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership aims to raise the level of humanitarian engagement in policy development and debate, through academic and practitioner lenses.

The Centre is a driving force behind discussions about how leadership in the humanitarian sector can be best developed and research of humanitarian leadership on the ground.

The collaborative nature of the Centre provides for practitioner rotations to carry out research on specific thematic areas in the humanitarian sector, and facilitates practitioner support including coaching and advice to graduates, partner organisations, researchers and research students.  A key function of the Centre is to facilitate the provision of consulting services to agencies, donors and governments – primarily through the use of Centre partners – on humanitarian policy and practice issues.


Women in Humanitarian Leadership

This report presents an overview of many of the research gaps as well as challenges facing women in the humanitarian system in securing leadership positions. Given the very high percentage of women working in the humanitarian system.

The findings in the report identify a number of critical areas that require further research, as well as the need for a system wide approach to addressing inequality in the humanitarian workforce.

Read the full report

Humanitarian & Disaster Management Capacity Development in the Pacific

This report presents a snapshot of capacity development practices, needs, challenges and its relationship with humanitarian and disaster management organisations in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The report draws on the work of NGOs, donors, governments and other humanitarian actors’ interventions covering current capacity practices and approaches to capacity development. Over a period of 9 months, the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership (CHL) consulted with more than one hundred humanitarian and disaster management actors in the Pacific.

The findings from the research indicate a number of critical challenges in humanitarian and disaster management capacity development, with many common challenges across contexts, as well as many unique aspects in each country. The findings reinforce the need to ensure a more coherent approach to capacity development, and many of the the issues identified also resonate with experiences in other parts of the world. This research will now be expanded to include more countries.

Read the full report

Read the summary report

Leading the Way: Applied Humanitarian Leadership Learning in the Haiyan Response

This research was conducted over a 5-month period in the Philippines and Australia and examined the effectiveness of the applied learning of graduates and current students of the Humanitarian Leadership Programme who held leadership roles in the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that devastated the central Philippines in November 2013.

The findings from the research indicate that the structure and content of the course is relevant and very effective in building the self-awareness, self-confidence, resilience, reflective practice, strategic thinking and relational leadership skills of graduates and current students. All informants indicated the course had assisted them to become better leaders within their organisation’s response.

Read the Leading the Way policy brief

Read the Leading the Way research

Research Students

We are calling for Higher Degree Research project proposals from suitably qualified academics, practitioners and higher-degree research students with a keen interest in contributing to leading-edge research in the humanitarian sector.

Proposals should relate to the CHL’s thematic research area of humanitarian leadership. This is understood in a broad sense incorporating people, organisations and systems. Research proposals that focus on leading more effectively through improving systems, human factors or technology are particularly encouraged, as are those with a focus on improving humanitarian response in the Asia-Pacific region.

Applications are open to individuals who meet Deakin University’s PhD entry requirements and who are eligible to study in Australia or apply for a student visa. More information regarding eligibility to study at Deakin University as a higher degree research student is available at the Deakin website.

If you are interested in discussing research with us then please contact us.