Search type

Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Postgraduate research

Our three year structured Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises.

Why choose Manchester? roundel

Researching at HCRI lends itself to learning and exploring a wide-range of ideas without the restrictive walls of disciplinary study, giving space for creativity and research to intersect in new, exciting, and practically-valuable projects. Such interdisciplinarity and groundedness is only reinforced by studying within Manchester, a city that has consistently pushed the boundaries of imposition in seeking to contribute to a better world.

Eric Lepp

View our programmes, and the support available for our postgraduate researchers.


Finding a supervisor

Bringing together the study of applied medicine and the humanities our structured PhD programme is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and practice, to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field of humanitarianism and global health.

As a PhD student at HCRI, you will be surrounded by globally renowned researchers, expert practitioners and policymakers and we welcome applications from students wishing to study in one of the following areas.

Dr Maura Duffy

I welcome proposals for PhD research in the broad fields of politics and social policy in relation to radical social change 'from above and/or below'. This encompasses work that focuses on states and/or grassroots communities in the promotion of social change in Latin America or more broadly and with a focus on education, health, food security and other areas of social policy. I particularly welcome projects that deal with specific areas of community-led social change including the arts and culture, urban agriculture and global health.

Dr Peter Gatrell

My research and teaching interests fall into two broad categories: population displacement in world history and the history of modern Europe. These twin interests are also brought together in my commitment to the cultural history of modern war. I would welcome enquiries from prospective graduate students in these fields.

Dr Jessica Hawkins

I welcome PhD supervision enquiries on the historical sociology of state formation, conflict and development; colonial and missionary “humanitarianism”; state-led humanitarianism; and histories of displacement. I would particularly welcome projects on East African contexts. Jessica is currently on maternity leave until April 2020.

Dr Billy Haworth

I welcome applications for PhD research in the following areas:

  • volunteered geographic information and/or citizen science
  • spatiotemporal experiences of queer or other minorities in disasters/humanitarian crises
  • participatory GIS
  • critical geography approaches to understanding knowledge production and access

Professor Roger MacGinty

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who are interested in peacebuilding, and especially the interaction between top-down and bottom-up approaches to peace.

Dr Tanja Muller

I welcome proposals for PhD research on any aspect of revolutionary societies and/or post-liberation politics; identity, belonging and transnationalism (in particular in relation to refugees); well-being and aspirations; global health and related fields; and conceptualisations behind and practices of humanitarianism.

Dr Róisín Read

I welcome PhD supervision inquiries and I am particularly interested in supervising on issues of gender in humanitarianism; representation and knowledge production in/for international interventions; and conflict and post-conflict transitions in African contexts, especially South Sudan and Sudan.

Dr Gemma Sou

Gemma is an interdisciplinary researcher who takes a postcolonial approach to disaster studies. She is interested in decolonising discourses and policies in disaster risk reduction and understanding the everyday lives, aspirations, needs and concerns of people living with disaster risk. She also works on the media representations of human vulnerability and is particularly interested in representations of disasters in alternative technologies. Gemma is interested in supervising doctoral students interested in postcolonial approaches to disaster studies, grassroots disaster risk reduction and media representations of human vulnerability.

Professor Bertrand Taithe

I am very interested in supervising students working on the history of the body, French and British cultural history, the history of war and medicine, humanitarianism, French colonial history or the history of 'social explorers' in France and Britain.

Dr Birte Vogel

I have a research interest in topics around peace and conflict studies and international interventions, and how international interveners interact with local populations. I am open to supervising PhD projects in the area of civil society/ NGOs and peacebuilding, local resistance or economics and peacebuilding.

Current PhD students

Postgraduate researchers in the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute pursue a wide range of different topics. 

Our current postgraduate researchers and their thesis titles:

  • Clare Atterton 
  • Ingri Buer - 'Everyday agency and community coping mechanisms in the presence of police pacification processes in Rio de Janeiro's favelas' (working title)
  • Jennifer Chapman - 'Evolving emergency medical response in the UK humanitarian sector'
  • Juliano Fiori - 'In the Name of Humanity: A History of the Humanitarian Present'
  • Benjamin Gittins - 'Adapting to Insecurity: the increasing prominence of remote humanitarian management'
  • Dr Muhammed Munawar Bin Mohammed Hata - 'The Costs and Benefits of WHO Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Global Classification Process'
  • Nicola Jones - 'The changing nature of stigma: exploring experiences of HIV-related stigma in a post-flood context in Malawi'
  • Rana Khalaf - 'Dealing with governance during conflict, a key to peace? The case of the Syrian conflict'
  • Kubra Mertek - 'Post-cold war humanitarianism and discursive construction of 'neutrality': The case study of the ICRC in the Syrian Civil War' 
  • Margaux Pinaud - 'Home-grown peace: civil society roles in ceasefire implementation processes'
  • Maria Romero
  • Isabelle Schlapfer
  • Kristina Tschunkert - 'Cash a magnet for trouble? Exploring social and economic impacts of cash assistance on host-refugee relations' (working title)
  • Margot Tudor - 'Blue Helmet Bureaucracy: Peacekeeping as Colonial Ambition, a lesson in governance, and the exploitation of 'Humanitarianism'
  • Rebecca Viney-Wood - 'Written across your face: Refugees and Technologies of Identity in Historical Perspective' 

For more detailed information, view the full profiles of our current PhD students.

Postgraduate research seminars

PhD students based in HCRI meet regularly in an informal environment to discuss ongoing work and career development. If you are working on a PhD in a relevant area and would like to connect with this group, please email

PhD study at the HCRI

Dr Eleanor Davey and research student Margot Tudor from the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute talk about PhD supervision and give you their top tips.

  • Louise Tomkow

    Louise Tomkow

    'Health, ageing and a hostile hospitality: Understanding asylum applicants’ narratives of life, health and ageing in the UK'

    Read more