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

I wanted to pursue my PhD at a place that is linked to the real world and that invests in in-depth and quality research and there was the HCRI. The HCRI is also particularly unique in its interdisciplinary approach to humanitarianism, peace and conflict, which is an aspect I have come to appreciate even more as I have come in contact with and learnt from its brilliant staff and students.

Rana Khalaf / PhD student

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.

The application process should start with the prospective student scrolling through the list below to identify staff whose research interests are similar to their own. The prospective student should then contact these staff directly with a one page summary of their proposed research project and inquire if they would be interested in supervising the project. If the staff member is interested in supervising the project, the prospective student should work with the staff member to develop a 1500 word research proposal that will be the basis for their application to the programme.

To be eligible for internal and external funding, applications for the programme should be submitted online (see how to apply) in the January before the student is due to start their programme of study in September.

Professor Larissa Fast

My current research projects focus on data and digital practices and violence against health care. I particularly welcome applications related to the following topics:

  • Humanitarianism (concepts and practices, humanitarian system, politics of aid, humanitarian response in insecure environments)
  • Conflict and health
  • Digital humanitarianism
  • Conflict and peacebuilding

Dr Ayham Fattoum

Supervision interests

  • Soft operations research in complex settings.
  • Systems thinking for viability, resilience and sustainability in -organisations and societies.
  • Complexity management and decision-making under uncertainty.
  • Holistic approaches to disaster management.
  • Inclusive systems and community engagement in disaster management.

Prof Tim Jacoby

Supervision interests

  • Middle East
  • Political violence
  • Refugees
  • Faith
  • Culture
  • Humanitarianism

Dr Rubina Jasani

Supervision interests

  • Anthropology of Violence and Reconstruction
  • Gender, Embodiment and Violence
  • Mental Health and Politics of Care in Humanitarian Settings
  • Lived Islam in South Asia and the UK
  • Healing, Islamic Medicine and Religious Humanitarianism

Dr Nathaniel O'Grady

Supervision interests

  • Digital technologies
  • Affect theory
  • More-than-human geography
  • Emergency governance
  • Infrastructure

Dr Róisín Read

Supervision interests

  • Gender (particularly in the humanitarian system and in conflict)
  • Humanitarianism
  • Representation and knowledge production in/for international interventions
  • Art and peacebuilding (visual arts, memoir, literature)
  • Conflict and post-conflict transitions, especially African contexts
  • South Sudan

Professor Bertrand Taithe

Supervision interests

  • History of humanitarian aid
  • Medical humanitarian aid
  • MSF
  • Politics of humanitarian aid
  • Humanitarian system

Professor Mandy Turner

Supervision interests

  • The Israel-Palestine conflict
  • Conflict and development
  • Post-conflict peacebuilding
  • The politics of international intervention
  • Development aid in war-torn societies

Dr Birte Vogel

Supervision interests

  • Peace interventions
  • Political economy of peace and conflict
  • Everyday economics
  • Post-conflict economy formation
  • Geographies of peace and conflict
  • Civil society peacebuilding

Dr Antoine Burgard

Supervision interests

  • History of humanitarianism
  • History of migration and forced displacement
  • Children in conflict and displacement
  • History of genocides and mass violence
  • Public history and memory studies

Available as secondary supervisor.

Dr Nimesh Dhungana

Supervision interests

  • Disaster-development nexus
  • Accountability, advocacy and community participation in humanitarian crisis contexts
  • Civil society engagements in disaster preparedness and response
  • Socio-political dimensions of disasters and health emergencies
  • Disaster and humanitarian governance

Available as secondary supervisor.

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. 

Available as secondary supervisor.

Dr Amanda McCorkindale

Supervision interests

  • Education and humanitarianism
  • Experiences of young people in humanitarian and conflict responses (historical and current cases)
  • Community based education programmes (youth and adult) in post-conflict/global health
  • Role of empathy/sympathy and humanitarianism 
  • Community engagement in humanitarian/post-conflict and global health

Available as secondary supervisor.

Dr Tanja Müller

Supervision interests

  • 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
  • Conceptualisations behind and practices of humanitarianism

Available as secondary supervisor.

Dr Stephanie Sodero

Supervision interests

  • Climate change, climate policy, and climate justice
  • Global supply/value chains, particularly related to health and medicine
  • Climate migrants/refugees, including critical engagement with these concepts
  • Mobilities paradigm, mobility justice, and alternate mobility futures
  • Creative research and outreach methods, including climate fiction

Available as secondary supervisor.

Dr Darren Walter

Supervision interests

  • Emergency Care and Ambulance/EMS system development in low-income health settings
  • Emergency Health Provider Education through distance learning
  • Emergency Humanitarian Assistance
  • Global Health more widely, particularly where it relates to health systems and infrastructure

Available as secondary supervisor.

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.