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RETHINK Humanitarian Aid

ETH Zürich | Bublu Thakur-Weigold, Andrew Parris, Mojtaba Salem

Humanitarian aid is much more than just fundraising and political activities. In this session you will learn more about modern science in the field of humanitarian logistics.

We are familiar with humanitarian aid work primarily through appeals for donations and through political action in the media. But there is much more to it than funding (inputs) or the political framework. Less well known is the fact that logistics can take up to 80% of the budget in a humanitarian response. Today, to get the most impact out of limited resources, science is increasingly engaged in making relief work more efficient and effective. With examples from ongoing research projects, we show how industry-derived methods can make an important contribution in the non-profit context, getting life-saving supplies such as medicines or food to their destination faster. By reducing operational costs, humanitarian organizations can use their donations to reach more people in need.



This event can be attended digitally via livestream or in-person with a limited on-site audience at the Museum of Natural History.

Livestream: Shortly before the event begins, the stream will be made available on this site. Add the event to your favourites and receive a reminder via email.

On-Site: If you would like to attend the event on-site, please book your spot in advance. More information to follow.

Due to the current situation, we are required to ask for the contact information of each person entering the Museum of Natural History in accordance with the Protection Against Infection Act. We therefore require the following data from all persons who register: First name, last name, address, telephone number and email address.

On-site the protective and hygienic measures of the Museum of Natural History apply. The so-called 3G rule (for “geimpft, genesen oder getestet“, i.e. “vaccinated, recovered or tested”) will be applied: Anyone who is not fully vaccinated or is not considered recovered will be required to provide a recent negative Covid-19 test. Visiting the event is permitted with a medical face mask only.

The registration data will be stored by ETH Zurich for the purpose of organizing the event as well as for any subsequent contact follow-up and will also be shared with the organizers of Berlin Science Week and the Museum of Natural History for this purpose.

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Bublu Thakur-Weigold


Bublu is Associate Director Programs of the HumOSCM Lab at ETH Zurich’s Chair of Logistics Management where she works with international humanitarian organizations to improve performance using scientific knowledge and research findings. She trained as an industrial engineer, and gathered over 20 years of supply chain experience in industry and consulting before joining the ETH as a researcher, lecturer, and program director.

Andrew Parris


Andrew Parris earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering (as part of the “Lean Aircraft Initiative”) at MIT. He worked 11 years in aerospace before joining World Vision, where he worked 9 years, 3 of those living in Nairobi, Kenya, promoting Lean Six Sigma. Now Andrew is Process Excellence Manager at Medair, an international humanitarian NGO based near Lausanne. Andrew is committed to strengthening the performance and impact of NGOs by equipping and inspiring employees to continuously improve their work.

Mojtaba Salem

Technische Universität München

Dr. Mojtaba Salem works as as a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of Research and Science Management in Technical University of Munich. Dr. Salem graduated from Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg with a PhD in Leadership and Management. His doctoral dissertation is on “Leadership in Humanitarian Operations” for which he received the Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich Best Dissertation Award. He also co-founded the Research Institute on Leadership and Operations in Humanitarian Aid (RILOHA).

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About the Venue
Berlin Science Week Campus – Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Invalidenstraße 43
Berlin, Berlin 10115 Germany
(030) 8891408591
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