In the field of humanitarian operations, practical impact in research is particularly critical as improving operations may save lives and alleviate suffering for vulnerable people. Unfortunately, incentives for faculty and student research in this field do not always prioritize practical impact. Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Associate Professor Erica Gralla examined this thorny issue of the impact of research on both scholarship and practice, alongside colleague Maria Besiou from Kuehne Logistics University in Hamburg, Germany, in their working paper titled, “Research and practice impact in humanitarian operations: A critical review, challenges, and opportunities.”
In their study, Professors Gralla and Besiou examined the last decade and a half of research on humanitarian operations for its impact on both scholarship and practice, identified characteristics of papers that achieve both, and charted ways forward for the field to enable and incentivize greater impact. The novel implications of this study won them a spot as a finalist in the 2023 Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) College of Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management (HOCM) Best Paper Award Competition!
“Maria and I were honored that our paper was chosen as a finalist in this best paper competition! There is a lot of high-quality work in our field, and we are thrilled that our work was recognized. We hope that the recognition helps to spread the word on the importance of impactful, practice-relevant research in humanitarian operations,” Professor Gralla stated.