What are the Research Pillars?

The Research Pillars represent three distinct yet interrelated fields of knowledge or evidence bases, which inform the Centre’s strategic direction and research, monitoring, and evaluation activities.


Research in this pillar critically examines how effective teaching and learning processes can help adults develop their leadership knowledge, attitudes, and practices, with a specific focus on crisis, disaster, and humanitarian contexts.


Research in this pillar critically examines what leadership is, what it enables, and what enables it, in the context of disasters, conflicts, and crises.

Systems Transformation

Research in this pillar critically examines how effective leadership can transform the humanitarian, disaster, and emergency management systems at the local and international level, and advance more inclusive, equitable, and effective humanitarian coordination and action.

What is the purpose of the Research Pillars?

Strengthen the Centre’s contribution to the global evidence base on leadership in crisis contexts
By outlining overarching themes and topics, the three research pillars help strengthen and coordinate the Centre’s contribution to the global evidence base on humanitarian and crisis leadership and systems change. For instance, the thematic focuses inform the scope of new research projects, and facilitate the engagement of the wider academic and practitioner community, including the Centre’s Research Affiliates and Associates.

Strengthen external partnerships across the international system
The Research Pillars provide a common language for identifying and collaborating with external partners within the humanitarian system—including academic and non-academic partners—and within the wider leadership development space.

Coordinate monitoring and evaluation activities
The pillars also bring coherence to the monitoring and evaluation activities that the Centre undertakes for our core programs, such as for the Crisis Leadership Program and DESLH.