MSc Humanitarian Policy and Practice | Information Session
Maria: Hi everyone and really welcome to this session. I am Dr Maria Kett and I'm Associate Professor of Humanitarianism and Disability in the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health I'm joined by my colleague Dr Ben Olbury who is from the UCL Global Disability and Innovation Hub and the UCL Institute of Making. You'll hear more from both Ben and I shortly but we're really excited him to introduce to you today a new MSc programme we're starting at UCL which is called the MSc in Humanitarian Policy and Practice and I think Alison is going to share a screen and Ben and I are going to do a short presentation shortish and to tell you a little bit about the programme and please do if you want to ask questions and perhaps either post them in the chat or we'll have plenty of time at the end Ben and I are going to speak for about 15-20 minutes and then there'll be time for you to ask questions lots of time to ask questions at the end comments whatever so please do either post them in the chat or save them we're hoping we'll be joined by a few more people as we go on so we might hear a few pings but yeah but without further ado let me get started so next slide please Alison so this program really is for anyone who's interested to know more about humanitarian issues I guess we see this in the news we see what's happening in the war in Ukraine the famine in the horn of Africa but there are also lots of unreported or under-reported humanitarian scenarios around the world and I guess one of the things we might think is what you know why do they and you know why do these situations end up being so protracted and for lasting for so long that this course is really designed to get people thinking about the real fundamental issues in humanitarian context and to start really probing so if you're interested in a career in that field it's to really set you up with a set of skills to really probe around those issues next slide please before I move on to a little bit about the cause I guess I'll tell you a little bit about me sorry for the busy slides it's mainly to remind myself I have been in the working in this board for quite a long time I'm an anthropologist by background and I did most of my primary work in my field work in China and from China I then did my earliest work looking at forced migration and long-term Refugee settlements and and contexts in Azerbaijan and Bosnia and that led me to working in post-conflict societies and from that I ended up doing work around conflict and disability so I have quite a strong background linking those two sectors together the humanitarian world and the disability world I have been a member of several sort of global groups looking at how better to ensure people with disabilities are included in humanitarian action including the sphere handbook working with the International Red Cross, Red Crescent and to develop guidelines and I've also spent a lot of time in different countries particularly in West Africa and Sierra Leone and Liberia and at the picture at the bottom of the slide is working in a settlement in Sierra Leone and the top left-hand picture is me undertaking fieldwork in Liberia I've been going back and forth to Liberia for many years and and had the fortune or misfortune to be there during the Ebola crisis and really I'm looking at the impact of the Ebola crisis for example on people with disabilities I've also perhaps linked to the humanitarian work been doing a lot of work around climate change and climate action and and that started some time ago now with colleagues in the middle picture from colleagues in Kenya and Bangladesh where we actually went to COP in 2017 to present our findings and that work is still ongoing looking at climate and disability I've also and this is the Ben and I connection have been doing a lot of work around assistive technology in humanitarian context I'm not a technology expert but I'm certainly an expert in the humanitarian context more recently and perhaps as a result of covid I've been doing work in my own local community which is a really different and interesting context so really looking at health inequalities in a very diverse community in Brent where I live so I've got a lot of different both practical perspectives I am have a healthcare background as well as academic through the anthropology and I'm really trying to bring those applied approaches to my research and to my teaching so I can talk more about that after but that's just to give you a brief overview and I'll bring all of those to the course yeah next slide please Alison so really this course as I say I've got a lot of background and interest in colleagues work in the humanitarian sector and we know that there's a real need to provide well put work as people working in the humanitarian sector that have these really inquiring mindsets and skill sets and really want to know a bit more about what's behind the story that we see in the news and really have the skills to help analyse unpick and think about those situations differently and really fundamentally the point of it is to really make a difference to lives of people affected by crises that's frontly centered to what the aim of the course is that it's not just a cause to to give an academic set of schools but really to help people to make a difference to other people's lives that we really want this to be a balance between practical skill sets as well as theoretical backgrounds and frameworks and understanding what the evidence says what the research is showing and for that we'll have really bring the sort of real life context to this and I think Ben would give a good example of how he's going to do that in his course obviously I've talked a little bit sorry a bit about the healthcare setting I have a background in healthcare we're in the department of epidemiology and public health but certainly we plan that while there is a lot of research around healthcare and an evidence base that we can use that it's not just around healthcare and perhaps one of the beauty joys of coming to somewhere like UCL is you really can access a range of other academic subjects faculties experts from other faculties including security human rights international law and that's really important you get a breadth of subjects basically perhaps you don't get at other universities if you're looking at one particular subject specialty and we really want to bring those together in sort of methodological ethical and other applied skill sets and competencies so that's that's a really important facet of the course a little bit about the course and next slide please Alison we've got a range of modules to be covered of course really core to this is understanding what humanitarian policy and practices in in the current situation in the current times and there's been a lot of work to try and really develop and improve humanitarian action and some of you might know that in 2016 was the first world humanitarian summit and that really was where what was called a grand bargain to try and think differently about humanitarian action and try and shift the balance of power that's also led to a big push to what's called a localisation agenda to try and take the power out of rich countries to provide more power and resources to countries that are directly affected by humanitarian emergencies so they can people affected can make decisions and choices themselves but it's not always that straightforward what research methods do we need to do how do we know what we're doing is working effectively and having the impact and having the benefit that we wanted to have so we really want to give you a set of skills around how to ask those questions analyse the data unpick the stories and by using different research methods we also want to look at how we know when outcomes when when interventions that we're doing have really led to an improvement in people's lives whether that's health improvements education improvements or improvements in security etc so we really want to look at what the evidence shows and how do we test that evidence to look at whether we are actually making a difference this has been a really key question in the humanitarian sector you know huge amounts of money huge amounts of people volumes and volumes of work done reports written but what difference is it making to people's lives and if it really is making a difference why do we still see the same things happening time and time again some practical skills we want you to learn about how to do projects programs how do you develop a program from its Inception right through to the budget the planning to the application of those ideas on the ground to really deliver how do you write grants how do you write budgets how do you know what you're doing is sticking to time and targets and goals all those practical skills but we also want you to think about this as I said in the wider context and one of the key messages given my background and Ben's and I've worked on disability that's an obvious intersectional issue but we also know other groups age lgbtqi that that's been a really under researched area in humanitarian you know and whole issues of power dynamics between different groups and how that plays out so we really see the intersectionality you know we know now that for many things one size doesn't fit all so how do we really deliver more effective humanitarian action for different groups and finally and most excitingly perhaps because we've got Ben here humanitarian Technologies and I'm going to hand over to bench tell us a little bit about what that module will contain in more detail thank you Ben. Ben: Cheers thanks Maria so next slide please so just before I yeah before I explain a little bit about the humanitarian technologies module just to let you know a little bit about me so yes I'm a Research Fellow at the Global Disability Innovation Hub on a crossover with the Institute of Making which if you're at UCL you might know as a central making facility materials library and the sort of mixture between those two two things is I'm particularly interested in the making of assistive technology so assistive technology is it can be many many things but the particular area I work on mostly is around mobility so under the 80 20 30 programme, which is a large UK Aid programme that GDI had laid on I work on a number of different research streams I have this focus on mobility as I said so prosthetics comes into this 3D printing and prosthetics where digital fabrication can help Maria mention the word localised localise activities bringing the products where they need to be and a critical point around that that's it's important for most assistive technologies that make them a little bit harder to supply than other technologies is the fact that very often in order for them to be effective they need to be customised they need to be made bespoke to the user or they just don't work I mean I've got so in the top left there I've got a picture of a prosthetic socket that the residual limb of a leg would go into and if that's not made made specific to the user there's just no way it's going to work with you well you know you imagine you know a sheep your shoes might blister sometimes or prosthetic socket you know residual limb but we do call them stumps sometimes they you know that it's not nature hasn't designed that to be put into something. So across the 80 20 30 program we worked on
a range of different topics in development humanitarian contexts I currently have sort of streams of work going on in Nepal, Sierra Leone and Kenya and this question of localisation this is where the the context the barriers that the context presents come front and centre in whatever it is that you're trying to do you know that left picture there in the pool may be part of the context problem there is just these mountainous regions how do we get anything into these places and we'll talk about how technology could help with that similarly on the right there that's a picture of an informal settlements Sierra Leone, Cockle Bay just simply how can how can technologies work in such an environment can they incorporate sustainability strategies you can see all the waste that's that's put into put around there can that actually be part of the solution and and yeah another sort of piece of my sort of journey over this I was for about two or three years during covid I was leading on a different UK aid programme covert action that local production local solutions so that with this we were starting out as an Innovation Challenge fund that we were then working with with six different innovators in in in six different countries so mostly in Africa and then one in the fall because we would then continue to work with all around this question of localisation how can we localise the production of whatever is needed we work on PPE. PPE I'm sure as you know is a massive problem it still is everywhere nasopharyngeal swabs baby delivery kits and Zambia I'll talk about that a little bit in a sec but it's whatever was needed over presented to the world very clearly that the supply chains which is an important topic to discuss as well are just are inadequate in a crisis such as covid being a global crisis but that's the case in more regional crisis sense as well so yeah next slide please so humanitarian technologies so this can this can cover a wide range of topics you know in the top left there we have we have crutches now we might not think of that as being you know a jazzy new innovation but we must you know often that it's it's hugely impacting if people don't have such simple technologies as crutches then they just they can't move very effectively you you have an immovable object which needs to be to be moved like with with help but crutches they open up the fact that a human can then move by themselves how we get them to people can also be quite difficult so I mentioned in the top right there around PPE again the problems that we face during covid were not just the the amounts of PPE that we need how we were going to produce them where we should be producing them and innovation in this area is still going on still going on about the distribution of manufacturing in the bottom right there drones drones is a big area of development currently it's going to open up things I mean I was mentioning about the mountainous regions in Nepal you know drones could be taking things to rural areas that simply vehicles can't get to or just overcoming the speed requirements of getting really critical items like blood around and into into areas where they're needed and yeah I mean they can serve a lot of different purposes in the middle there I was this is another it's a product that I was working on with a covered action work in Zambia. In Zambia over six you know even prior to the the covid pandemic over 63 of mothers give birth at home in Zambia with almost no equipment working with a company Safe Motherhood Alliance to develop baby delivery kits and support packages so that people just to to increase as much as you can the and reduce the risks of of giving birth for mothers there and then you know these I focus on you know I focus on products physical products but technology is a lot more than that open humanitarian open street map in the bottom left the matting through various different means is opening up new avenues for us to be able to understand crisis zones and be able to plan effectively before we've even thought about what we might actually do and critical I mean you know in the last few decades I think I've sort of safe to say one of the most impacting tools is the mobile phone and the both in terms of information gathering giving out information to people in an area and otherwise mobile phones are changing the way that a lot of processes can happen but it's complicated just because they also open up great barriers sorry great problems and risks and things need to be thought through just because they're an exciting new tech they seem ubiquitous they bring problems as well so all to be thought through next slide please so some key ideas that we want to think about in this is in this module is the systemic understanding of both you know innovations that have come in the past innovations that have failed innovations that have been successful things that are coming through now and what the future outlook for innovations are and this word systemic is super important because you know all the product product examples that I gave you before they don't work they're not in a silo their success and the the impact that they can have is based in the system and that system must be thought about throughout the whole process and often this is where innovators fall down systems fall down is because there is just a lack of connection between different processes say along the develop product development chain all the way up to the end of life prospects of of of products and we'll be looking at having a critical awareness of engagement that the debates around some of these topics around innovation in the humanitarian sector and this is where you know throughout this module we'll be bringing in guest lectures from our from our networks from various different agencies actors in the field experts in different product sets you know as I want to be bringing in experts to be talking about their particular fields and we will be doing that you know as much as possible we don't want to I personally don't want to be talking about things that I don't know about I think you know you want to be hearing from directly from the people who have those expertise and throughout this you know evaluating the appropriacy of these technologies it's very context specific where one technology might be appropriate where it might not be and the safety around the uses of different technologies one example to give around mobile phones for example is is if we if we develop all of our systems based on smartphones well this might be applicable for example in Ukraine you might take the fact that you know there might be a good proportion of people there that would have a smartphone well if you developed all those systems there to to be built on that who is it that you're going to leave out this might not be such a risk in Ukraine but if you take someone like Yemen then people might have a they might have a non-smartphone they might have a smartphone but who are you going to leave out and we've mentioned disability a number of times because that's a sort of a focus area for me and Maria although the course isn't focused on that but the digital divide is a really important consideration when we're digitalising the processes of technologies for this area and then finally just to think about the project work that we do you know there'll be an opportunity to pursue of in-depth conceptual design idea looking at a current challenge we'll be working with partners to make these as real world and possible have people that we can liaise with and understand those conceptual design ideas and it's important for that you know for that project work it's very much not that there's a necessity for physical prototyping you don't have to be an engineer you don't have to be scientists to do that although if you are and you want to do that great it's very much more about the thought process around how we might innovate and answer a problem as you know within the system that it will work it as I mentioned before yeah so hopefully yeah I'll hand back over to Maria thanks. Maria: Thank you Ben that's that's hopefully giving you a really good flavour of how some of you know the module content although it seems to be focusing on on innovation or technologies actually fits across many of the wider things we're going to be discussing around power been touched upon data and how we get data huge shifts to who collects the data in humanitarian unconscious now much more localised data collection using mobile phone apps for example but Ben also touched on who gets left out of that and these I think are some of the questions you know very current and salient in the humanitarian world and and need the sort of academic training and thinking behind that and that's what we want to offer with this course and Ben also touch upon the assessment processes we're hoping to have a range we will have a range of assessments and there'll be an opportunity to give oral presentations but there's also as Ben talked about designing projects that would also include a project management I'm developing at your own grant there'll be typically some essays some exams and also a portfolio or an opportunity to develop a whole range of different sets of core coursework across the the whole module we'll also doing individual research project which is typically something like a literature review as well as a group project which we will be based on a live current humanitarian issue or problem so we really want those to link to a real world issues and we're very happy to provide more details about the other specific calls if you have any questions about them the course could be taken full-time part-time or modular and so we very much see that this is something that could be next slide please Alison something that we hope will be a set of skills that will help people we want you to have a real understanding of the deeper context that humanitarian crisis many many humanitarian crises now seem to be you know perhaps when we saw this war nearly a year since the start of the war in Ukraine perhaps many people thought would be over within a few months but but that was you know it was never going to be the case actually and we see huge debates in the media about refugees for example so what are those contexts why are people leaving countries to come to other countries you know what are the what are the issues behind it and when does a refugee become a migrant Etc we also want people to have the skills students to stop the skills to make complex decisions we know these are really big geopolitical environmental health and other factors behind some of these so what skill sets do you need to be able to really unpack those and ask the right questions and we've I think emphasised quite clearly that we want you to have a cross-disciplinary perspective but could actually that can be really beneficial rather than coming at this from just a unilateral perspective to have the best you know the best available on different you know evidence bases behind you to really help think through some of these critical issues and give you sets of skills next slide please you know really we'll have that deeper understanding and be able to question what people you know the received wisdom you know oftentimes things are based very much on expert rather than evidence based and that that we need to really challenge I think so we really want students to have the ability to analyse and evaluate those interventions to really look what works and how it works and why it works in one context and and not in another I've touched upon project management skills the research skills but also importantly how to work together and that's something we hope to you know foster by the teamwork and the other project group projects because you know inevitably if you work in the humanitarian sector you are part of a much larger team and really understanding how to work well together with different skill sets is really vital to a career in the sector next slide please that's obviously something we we want to you know happy to talk about more about careers you know you may wish to go for a career in the humanitarian sector following this MSc but also it will give you a wider skill set to other careers whether that's development global health or other you know other sectors I think that there's we've covered quite a bit and we've talked quite a lot we'd like to hear from you now so perhaps if you have any questions or you want to ask anything please do stick your hand up or post a question in we're very happy to to talk more about anything we've discussed here already and the prospectus is opened it's available on the link here or you can contact me directly through there's a there's a address on the website for the prospectus and so please do send any emails we're very happy to have an individual chat with you if you prefer that too I think Alison we can stop sharing the screen and perhaps open the floor up to to have any questions it would be really great to hear a little bit about some of your interests or if what you're doing currently if you're coming from the you know we envisioned that some people that want to do this course will already be working in either the humanitarian sector or perhaps the development sector I'd be really interesting in and kind of really honing their skill sets perhaps other people will not have any expertise in that context at all and absolutely that's that's really fine we're really envisaging a mixture of different skill sets and experiences and we think that really will make it much more of a rich debates and discussions in the in the in the course so if anyone feels willing to tell us a little bit about their interest in this or what they were interested in we'd be very happy to hear from you otherwise me and Ben just keep chatting. Miranda, flexibility in the modules in the medical sector, okay so that's a great question Miranda actually we had a discussion ourselves about this and actually the core modules as I think you might have seen if you've looked so prospectus majority of the modules are core modules because we feel that there are we've emphasised the gaps in the skill set so we really want to ensure that students have you know are given that the the skills that will fill those gaps what you will have flexibility in doing is choosing for example in the individual project the group projects and the readings that you can focus the direction so for example if you are more interested in health that would be something you could really take through your different modules and the different options and there are also the two optional modules in both of which are related to health and gender at the moment we expect that there will be some additional optional modules in the future so you're concerned within the course choose to make your your work you do more Health focused that would be out absolutely fine does that answer your question Miranda very happy didn't want to speak but if you prefer to type that's also fine.
Ben: Certainly within the technologies I mean health is a major theme I mean this is in terms of the particularly around products and then the services that are trying to be enabled in crisis zones are centred around health yeah so they wouldn't be I think it would be located for their right. Maria: And certainly as Ben said we plan to bring in experts from a range of sectors the interesting thing in the humanitarian sector perhaps inevitably is there is more evidence based around as much if not more evidence based around the healthcare sector largely perhaps because often it's delivered at a health centre or hospital so to collect data you know rather than perhaps shelter which might be built out in a more community setting but we're certainly developing more research and evidence across all the different sectors whether that's health water and sanitation communication education but actually they're all interconnect right without good health it's very difficult to have those you know without clean water and sanitation it's very difficult to have health so there's a definitely a connection between all of those things and I think that's something we want to emphasise the humanitarian sector has been very much set up in these sector silos and that's great in terms of developing leadership and in developing you know who's responsible responsible for what it also means they do seem to be artificially separate and that's not always the case so we'd certainly see that you know the questions that we might ask about Healthcare would be relevant to the other sectors as well but as I say you can certainly there's definitely an evidence base around around health. Ben: I think as well that the I think the data and evidence that's to be collected that have got across many spheres I think health is often sort of stands as the as the best practice for a lot of those processes that come in I mean we often find within assistive technology that I wish that things emulated the kind of data and evidence that has to be collected for for medical devices or medicine there's I mean there's there's often this there's this interplay between the medical model and the social model which is very important to take into account but whenever when it comes to evidence I find yeah more reflection of of the medical sector would be would be really beneficial but how that is done yeah how that's done well yeah it's it's to be discussed okay. Maria: Anyone else want to share I don't know if anyone else wants to share their background or have any questions about the content of the course we're really excited that lot that the opportunity to bring in the practitioners I think is something we're really excited about it's striking how many practitioners do want to come in and speak to students I think maybe you know well working in the sector they realize what the what the skill set needed are and and also have quite strong opinions about what's happened that's worked well and what hasn't worked well and they're really Keen to come and share that so we're really excited that we'll have the possibility to bring in practitioners I think that's a really important component of the course and the as well as practitioners we're also hoping to have advocates we've touched upon the fact that Ben and I work a lot on the disability sector but but you know above and beyond the disability sector you know people are advocating for refugees as well as other groups in the humanitarian context and are a really important voice to hear and one that perhaps aren't always aren't always heard so advocates activists practitioners we want to have a really diverse group of people that will contribute to this course. Alison: I was just going to ask Maria why you thought UCL would is a good place to study this type of programme? Maria: Really good good question and I touched on this a little bit obviously UCL Epidemiology and Healthcare Institute where the course would be based is really World leading in much of its research around health inequalities which of course really fundamental in terms of some of the things we're talking about here in the humanitarian setting I think we can obviously assume that people are affected by humanitarian crisis will be some of the most left out and marginalised people we see that every evening on the television when we're looking at places like Ukraine or Horn of Africa but as I also touched upon it's not you know we have the opportunity to work with people in other faculties and that's a really interesting Ben actually sits in the Faculty of Engineering right Ben. Ben: Well yeah I was in mechanical engineering but actually I've transferred to computer science
recently and probably I'm I I strictly wear neither of those hats but I cut across. Maria: That's a really good you know one of the beauties UCL really tries to promote and focus on the idea of being very cross-disciplinary multi-disciplinary and I think we certainly have the possibility and will bring in experts and lecturers and guests from other departments other faculties and that's a really important thing as we talked about although we want to focus and help with sitting an Institute of Healthcare you know understanding how international humanitarian law impacts on access to healthcare in humanitarian crisis is really vital but also understanding is you know in terms of information flow how does data science help us collect information that might improve healthcare so really the opportunity to bring in those different voices and different perspectives from you know vast range of subject specialists in a university like UCL is really hugely important and beneficial so yeah I think that's a really key point about UCL plus it's a great place to study. Ben: And also to touch upon the the GDI Hub where where I sit in the we we have we we do well let's just say that we're not we're not theorists basically I mean the research that we do is action research the the work that we're doing is about actual implementing strategies in different contexts and trying to understand how to do them better rather than just sitting back and the 80 20 30 program that you work on is the yeah I mean it's the UK's leading assistive technology program for development humanitarian context but also globally and what's interesting about the GDI Hub is we have wings where we are we're a research group we're also a community interest company and that enables us to to operate in a way in which some things you were doing as a research group but also more acting as an NGO and we work across those two different spheres and in terms of innovation we're often find we often find our conversations are sort of looking at what's what what are these actions that we're really doing sort of like it's research-based innovation and innovation-based research depending on who is sitting where and that's yeah one way we'd like to think about it. Maria: And actually to build on that
I think one of the other things is partly because of that the way the research in the humanitarian sector is often funded whether that's through UK government or the United Nations we have really good connections that we'll bring to bear to this so for example the humanitarian assistive technology and humanitarian settings work that I've been focused on was funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and development office so again we have a contact in FCDO but we also have really good colleagues and connections with the World Health Organization with UNICEF with the United Nations High commission for refugees and I think that's you know in addition to having the academic context we also as I emphasise have those practitioner focus and this can be really great in terms of bringing in that subject and specialist expert at least the knowledge but also in terms of potential career pathways that those links can also be really good also in terms of developing those real world case studies that will actually work with organisations that are you know on the on the you know in the forefront of humanitarian interventions globally and I think that's a really you know a benefit that you perhaps won't always get in other courses but certainly will be able to bring to the course here so yeah that I think is really important. Ben: I think a comment that Maria made earlier as well about like sort of where people are coming from it's important not to sort of to shy away if you think that you are you know you don't know about this now you know you're going the right direction certainly I you know throughout my sort of academic progression earlier on I was you know immense prosthetics and I was particularly interested in prosthetics but mostly worked on the sort of higher tech end around sort of 3D printing sort of more exotic structures but quickly kind of began to look and realise that actually as we as as we know you know 95% of the amputees in the world are not in high income settings they don't have money and they they're in dire need they have nothing and this sort of captivates my attention and then that sort of from PhD onwards kind of shifted my direction and now you know four of the foot or my of the the grants that I work on four and a half days a week out of five are on development in the humanitarian context but it's so it's important to just realise that even if you're not right now where you are with your studies that you don't work on this in on this area the the different skill sets that you need you know I was describing to where I've come from but lots of people in the sector they come from all different angles because you know people in need in these contacts they need everything that everybody else needs even if you're just sat in London you need all the same things and therefore you need all of the same sort of systems but they're just harder to create around them so there's just there's a lot of different routes in I think I'm trying to say. Maria: I think that's a really important point actually Ben thank you for reminding us Alison's also posted some information there about scholarships and also just to say as I touched upon this it's certainly available for you to be part-time or full-time or modular so there are various different ways you can undertake masters programmes at UCL and I think that's on the website but again happy to have a chat with you personally or individually if you would refer to very easily contactable. Ben: I think we have so who did we find out we had Miranda he's left she was saying that she was she was coming from the medical sector can we get don't mind I mean can we get an idea of what your what Your backgrounds are Vanessa, Alice don't be shy it would just be really interesting for us to know who of the people that are that are interested in the course what are people doing now what's your thoughts.
Maria: You can type it if it's easier. Vanessa: Hello I'm Vanessa nice to meet you I'm currently a biology student and I'm really interested in health policies and public health and then I saw this course and I'm really interested in humanitarian work as well so I just wanted to know more about Maria: Great we have have you you do know a little bit more about it now Vanessa? Vanessa: Definitely I'm really interested but then there's also the science aspect that I'm really into and that I really like so I'm not sure but I'm looking at all my options. Maria: Of course good it was great that you were here today. thank you. Maria: Alice don't feel you have to but if you want to you're very willing to just share your background too Ben: No worries. Alison: I was going to ask Maria and Ben about the oh I think Alice has has written in the chat. Maria: Great that's really. helpful Alison thank you. Alison: But just about the compulsory modules and I think did we go through them in the presentation. Maria: I did
I did go through the modules in the presentation very quickly so all of the modules listed are compulsory as well as the group and individual products as I think I said when Miranda asked there's only one optional module because we feel that the skills that needed is is that needs to be covered by the core modules and sometimes if you give too many optional modules you don't then get the opportunity to cover all your core skills there so we we have a one optional module that's available for students but as I say that's definitely something that we feel that the core modules within them there's a degree of flexibility to undertake particularly the individual and group studies particular areas of research that you might be interested in yeah the the modules are on the slides and listed on the perspectives are the core modules. Alison: Thanks Maria Vanessa: Hey I actually have a question are there any conferences to know more about humanitarian work that is happening around the world or to meet people involved in them. Maria: Yes there are a lot yeah okay but one place you might start to look at is there some some an organisation called the international humanitarian Studies Association I think you can join and become a member but you can also just look at their website and I can post the link to you in the chat right now but that's probably a good place to start and there's various of course the United Nations have various different things but I I think that's probably the best one to start with I think. Vanessa: Okay thank you Maria: I'll post it for you right now. Vanessa: Thank you so much do you believe that courses such as public health would give a little bit of a humanitarian work perspective as well at UCL. Maria: At the moment that's probably only covered by perhaps touching on covid for example might be the closest so not so much I think the Global Health perhaps a little bit but if you're interested in the humanitarian then yeah then the the course that looks specifically at the humanitarian would give you a much bigger wider and more in-depth perspective I think. Vanessa: Okay thank yo.
Maria: It tends to focus on higher income I mean I think when you're looking at humanitarian context it's very we will be looking mainly at lower middle income countries but you know we see that you know even higher income countries you know climate change is really clear that you know countries are increasingly being affected by humanitarian crisis and I guess the question in that is which groups are being the most affected within those and we often see it's the most marginalised and excluded groups coming back to the health inequalities work but a lot of the sort of protracted humanitarian and I guess Ukraine is the obvious one you know that's certainly not thin as a lower income country but you know politically and geopolitically we see that the conflict has gone on for a long time you know and it's interesting to look at the alignments of different states and countries around that so I think although we tend to think about humanitarian context as being low income or lower middle income country we're also increasingly we you know perhaps Syria and Iraq were not necessarily lower income countries when the conflict started but but the impact of the conflict is inevitably going to be that that people's quality of life deteriorates so so yeah but it's a good question. Ben: Just just to mention we can respond to you Alice I think human Sciences is a really interesting degree to be coming at this from for all of the the I mean the points around intersectionality that Maria has already said about yeah in terms of thinking through all of these problems I feel like those skills would be yeah it would be very very very useful. Similarly with Biology I mean not to say I I have a degree in biology Vanessa. Maria: There you go, I forgot that.
Vanessa: Oh that's really nice how did you get into humanitarian work? Ben: Well as I said so I I have I started out with a masters in physics but I was focusing on biophysics and then I sort of I slowly I always well from from science I love science and I I think there's always I always find myself always expanding in terms of like like the utility of what I wanted to do although I see each science has been incredibly useful some things you know maybe next year maybe 50 years time maybe 100 years time depending what it is but always just thinking about what's what's useful to people now and quickly I sort of moved more from biophysics and mathematical biology I was looking at skin and two a PhD that was that was looking at emulating skin for the inside of prosthetic surfaces I was you know moved into engineering want to make something I was interested in making something that's useful now I sort of have this much more of like a focus area around local production systems and actually how things get made as well as what's getting made and so that's sort of how I yeah sort of expanded out from that and I think that the the kind of skills that you've come up from from science and just that understanding is really important I mean for example with the code action work that that I was doing over the last few years I've actually had a number of biologists that were coming in to help us facilitate understanding around the product when we were producing medical devices PPE nasopharyngeal swabs as you can imagine sterility is really important so we're bringing biologists in to try and help producers in low-timing countries to to work out how those processes could be best done there and you need that kind of understanding and if anything you know I've you know from as you saw as I've described I've sort of expanded out in terms of what my focus area is but equally you don't need to do that there's people that work on very specific biological or medical tasks yeah there's there's as you know as I said before it's in these sorts of contexts there is there isn't there's there's the same need of understanding from different angles as there is in any other human sphere. Vanessa: Thank you. Maria: Very fortunate we had you there Ben to have that discussion about biology Alison if there's no more questions we we we're very happy to to close but we're very happy to stay here and and chat if anyone has a particular question or if you want to talk to us very individually do contact us after. Alison: Yeah I'll just pop the email address for the programme in the chat if you have any other questions. Maria: We are doing two more of these so if you feel like you want to come again and I have an opportunity to ask a question I think the dates of those are also on the website the prospective website yeah so you know if all tell your friends. Alison: Yeah
okay. Maria: That's not the easiest email to remember is it I have to say you might have wanted to think that one through I didn't set it up just in other words really shortened yeah I mean I guess it's not that yeah I don't know there must be a reason for that but okay if if you if you don't have any questions please don't really have to Alison it's okay to finish 10 minutes early right we don't need to. Alison: Yeah completely fine completely fine. Maria: You don't really have to you know hang around if you if you have other things you need to do but we will be here for the next 10 minutes so you know if you want to say please do stay if there's any other questions I'm you know really excited about this programme and hope to see some of you on it