Relevance of humanitarian logistics research: Best practices and way forward

Nathan Kunz, Luk Noel van Wassenhove, Maria Besiou, Christophe Hambye, Gyöngyi Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is based on a panel discussion at EurOMA 2015. We identify a number of barriers to relevant research in humanitarian logistics. We propose a charter of 10 rules for conducting relevant humanitarian research.
We use operations management literature to identify best practices for doing research with practice. We compile, condense and interpret opinions expressed by three academics and one practitioner at the panel discussion, and illustrate them through quotes.
The increasing volume of papers published in the humanitarian logistics literature has not led to a proportional impact on practice. We identify a number of reasons for this, such as poor problem definition, difficult access to data or lack of contextualization. We propose a charter of 10 rules that have the potential to make humanitarian logistics research more relevant for practice.
Practical implications
By developing best practices for doing relevant research in humanitarian logistics, this paper enables the academic community and practice to better work together on relevant and impactful research projects. Academic knowledge combined with practice inspired problems has the potential to generate significant improvements to humanitarian practice.
This paper is the first to address the problem of relevance of humanitarian logistics research. It is also one of the few papers involving a practitioner to discuss practical relevance of research. Through this unique approach, it is hoped that this paper provides a set of particularly helpful recommendations for researchers studying humanitarian logistics.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1585-1599
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Relevance
  • Research with practice


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