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Supporting Humanitarian Relief Distribution Decision-Making

Mohammad Tafiqur Rahman of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled “Supporting Humanitarian Relief Distribution Decision-Making under Deep Uncertainty. A System Design Approach” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Wednesday 13 January 2021. (Photo: Private)

Since the success of humanitarian operations (e.g., HRD) mostly depends on doable decision-making, this research argues for developing potential DSSs in task-oriented ways.

Mohammad Tafiqur Rahman

PhD Candidate

The disputation will be held digitally, because of the Corona covid-19-situation. Spectators may follow the disputation digitally – link is available below.

Mohammad Tafiqur Rahman of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled Supporting Humanitarian Relief Distribution Decision-Making under Deep Uncertainty.

A System Design Approach” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Wednesday 13 January 2021.  

He has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences with Specilisation in Information Systems.

Summary of the thesis by Mohammad Tafiqur Rahman

Supporting Humanitarian Relief Distribution Decision-Making

Disasters threaten society with widespread destruction of infrastructure and livelihood.

To respond quickly in such crucial moments, humanitarian decision-makers (HDMs) act rapidly to distribute necessary relief goods, despite the deep and prevailing uncertainty that arises from scarce, conflicting, and uncertain information.

Existing models are scenario-specific

The literature avails various mathematical models to support HDMs in humanitarian relief distribution (HRD) decision-making.

These models are scenario-specific and mostly detached from the realities of the field. Although they produced good results when tested, they were not implemented in practice because of their operational inconsistency or complexity (i.e., lack of user-friendliness).

Practitioners not involved

In most cases, end-users (mainly practitioners) were found absent in the development process. So, for determining effective HRD, practitioners-participated decision support systems (DSS) are still needed.

Hence, developing computer-based DSSs is always the priority in humanitarian logistics (HL) to achieve necessary recommendations and suggestions on decision alternatives.

Supporting decisions

This research, therefore, attempts to model an IS to profile decision-making requirements and their interconnectedness—thereby developing the envisioned DSS.

So, it sets its research question (RQ) to identify “How can decisions in HRD be supported under deep uncertainty?”

By answering this RQ, this dissertation conceptualizes HRD as an operational ecosystem to model its DSS design.

Such a conceptualization will help researchers generating different decision models not only by identifying and combining various decision factors encompassed in different problem areas, but also recognizes their interconnections with and influences (or affects) to HRD decision-making.

Doable decision-making

Since the success of humanitarian operations (e.g., HRD) mostly depends on doable decision-making, this research argues for developing potential DSSs in task-oriented ways.

Finally, practitioners can save decision-making time by consulting the proposed prioritized lists of decision factors since faster decisions can be made if they are supported with the necessary information and with the essential decision variables and constraints for achieving specific objectives.

Disputation facts:

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place online, via the Zoom conferencing app (link below)

Dean Anne Halvorsen, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Agder, will chair the disputation.

Trial lecture at 10:00 hours
Public defense at 12:00 hours

 

Given topic for trial lecture"On the roles and implications of black swan events in the deep uncertainty context"

Thesis Title: «Supporting Humanitarian Relief Distribution Decision-Making under Deep Uncertainty. A System Design Approach»

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here:

https://uia.brage.unit.no/uia-xmlui/handle/11250/2721830

 

The CandidateMohammad Tafiqur Rahman (1983, Cumilla, Bangladesh) Bachelor of Science from North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Master of Science from KTH-Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. At UiA he has been a PhD Research Fellow, Researcher, Assistant Professor and Researcher in the ERASMUS+ -prosject “Virtual Reality in Higher Education”. Present position: Currently searching for opportunities.

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor Marcos Roberto da Silva Borges, TECNUN, University of Navarra, Spania

Second opponent: Professor Trond Hammervoll, Faculty of Business, Languages and Social Sciences, Østfold University College

Associate Professor Jaziar Radianti, Department of Information Systems, University of Agder,  is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Professor Tim A Majchrzak, Department of Information Systems, UiA (main supervisor) and Associate Professor ph.d. Tina Comes, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, former Professor at and still a member of the research team at CIEM - Centre for Integrated Emergency Management at the Faculty of Social Sciences, UiA (co-supervisor).

What to do as an audience member:

The disputation is open to the public, but to follow the trial lecture and the public defence, which is transmitted via the Zoom conferencing app, you have to register as an audience member:

https://uiano.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Utf--opjsvHtYMyBqcEsggNnqnH6tXu8xX

A Zoom-link will be returned to you.

(Here are introductions for how to use Zoom: support.zoom.us if you cannot join by clicking on the link.)

We ask audience members to join the virtual trial lecture at 09:50 at the earliest and the public defense at 11:50 at the earliest. After these times, you can leave and rejoin the meeting at any time. Further, we ask audience members to turn off their microphone and camera and keep them turned off throughout the event. You do this at the bottom left of the image when in Zoom. We recommend you use ‘Speaker view’. You select that at the top right corner of the video window when in Zoom.

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. Questions can be submitted to the chair, Dean Anne Halvorsen, at e-mail anne.halvorsen@uia.no