The mission of the MIT Humanitarian Response Lab is to help meet human needs by understanding and improving the supply chain systems behind public services and private markets. Based within the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, the Lab combines MIT expertise in engineering, management, technology, economics, urban studies & planning and other disciplines to drive practical innovation for humanitarian interventions. The lab has a diverse portfolio of projects to improve response operations during humanitarian crises and to enable development of resilient supply chains for global health and food security. Our research considers the capacity of public services to respond to crises, but focuses on improving humanitarian aid from the private sector to meet human needs.
Research on crisis response - triggered by natural disasters, conflict, outbreaks, etc. - focuses on supply chain management and decision making processes. Supply chains are the critical link in meeting needs with supplies provided by donors; and MIT researchers have years of experience designing supply chains and developing management approaches. Decision making research combines researcher experience in optimization and information technology to develop new automation tools and decision support systems for a broad range of critical decisions during a crisis.
Research on global health and food security focuses on driving efficiency and effectiveness and managing risks in resource constrained settings. Supply chains are fundamental to making critical products more affordable, available, and accessible for communities around the world. Lab researchers balance theoretical and applied work through active engagement with the private sector, government agencies, humanitarian, international development, and community organizations on several continents.