What we do

The MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab develops humanitarian leaders through graduate coursework, practical projects and simulation training. Graduate coursework is concentrated in logistics and supply chain management; and MIT collaborates with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and the Tufts Feinstein International Center to support the broader Humanitarian Studies Initiative. Students in the Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab build on coursework by conducting relevant research projects for companies, NGOs and governmental bodies. Finally, MIT actively facilitates simulation training with organizations like the UN Logistics Cluster.

The MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab has a passion for placing students in the field and putting ideas into practice. Each course incorporates guest speakers and exercises drawn from field experience; and the Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab strives to connect students with internships and other field-based engagements. All research projects involve partners from the government, NGO and or private sectors; and researchers remain involved with partners through implementation challenges. Finally, the Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab aims to build capacity within the MIT community to play a productive role in supporting response actions..


MIT SCM.283: Humanitarian Logistics

SCM.283 explores how logistics management principles apply when responding to humanitarian crises. After an overview of humanitarian operations, class sessions dive into the strategies, technologies, and management approaches organizations use for effective logistics performance. Class sessions combine interactive presentations, case discussions, and guest speakers. All students participate in a team project that utilizes data and information directly from sources such as the UN, U.S. government, and NGOs. (Open to students from MIT, Harvard, and Tufts.)
On-line SCM.283 syllabus

MITx Online Course: SCM.283x Humanitarian Logistics

There is growing demand for humanitarian logistics professionals given increasing climate change, conflict, social vulnerability, and supply chain complexity. Learners can earn a professional and academic certification through MIT Open Learning for SCM.283x Humanitarian Logistics, offered exclusively online through edX. Free to enroll from anywhere in the world for online learners who seek focused, accelerated advancement.

MITx Online Course: Supply Chain Design

CTL.SC2x Supply Chain Design covers all aspects involved in the design of supply chains for companies and organizations anywhere in the world. The course is divided into four main topic areas: Physical flow design, Supply chain finance, Information flow design, and Organization/Process design.

MIT Independent Study Credits

Graduate and undergraduate students receive credit for participating in Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab projects. One team of students, for example, worked together to support a U.S. government sponsored needs assessment following the Haiti earthquake.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

The Humanitarian Response Intensive Course is a two-week seminar for graduate students in essential crisis management skills. The MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab provides the logistics curriculum for the course and facilitates logistics meetings during an immersive, weekend simulation. For more information, please visit the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

MIT Degree and Research Programs

Supply Chain Management (M.Eng., 1 year)

Students in MIT’s 10 month Supply Chain Management graduate program may focus their research on supply chain issues in the humanitarian sector. For example, students have written theses on the optimal warehouse design for aid organizations, how to measure the effectiveness of disaster relief efforts, and how to implement supply chain management software within the humanitarian sector.

Technology and Policy (S.M., 2 years)

Students in MIT’s Technology and Policy graduate program haved focused their research on issues in the humanitarian sector. To complete their degree program, students are required to have technical depth (e.g. supply chains, optimization, networks) and a domain of application (e.g. relief, development).

Supply Chain and Logistics (Ph.D.)

Students in the Supply Chain and Logistics doctoral program, as offered by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, can focus their research on various aspects of engineering systems, supply chain management, and operations research in application to resource constrained settings.

Post-Doctoral Research

The Lab has hosted various post-doctoral researchers and fellows pursuing research in conjunction with the stated aims of the group. Researchers and fellows have proposed new projects, and joined existing projects.

MIT Global SCALE Network

The MIT Global SCALE (Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence) Network is an international alliance of research centers dedicated to the development and dissemination of global innovation in supply chain and logistics. The SCALE-affiliated Zaragoza Logistics Center in Spain, has run a graduate course in humanitarian and global health supply chains, and supports research groups in both humanitarian logistics and global health supply chains.