The ERC has awarded her a grant of 2.5 million Euro for a 5-year research project into how humanitarian governance is evolving, how civil society actors and crisis-affected people shape humanitarian governance, and how humanitarian studies can become more participatory and respectful of local research capacities.
Entitled 'Humanitarian governance: accountability, advocacy, alternatives', this research will focus on the needs of crisis-affected people, including more than 135 million refugees worldwide. It aims to understand what patterns of governance emerge in different types of crises and in different contexts of state–society relations, government traditions, and styles of statehood.
Groundbreaking research that 'focuses on how crisis-affected populations and civil society actors are positioning themselves in this new humanitarian landscape'
The study focuses on Colombia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as case studies.
In addition, it will study the international policies of climate-related displacement to understand how humanitarian governance is challenged through accountability and advocacy practices. The evaluation committee states that the research is unique as it proposes methodologies 'to de-colonize humanitarian research and to develop a bottom-up perspective that has been largely missing to date.'
Thea Hilhorst will implement the ERC project at ISS in collaboration with a group of scientists working on conflict and peace studies. Three PhDs and a senior researcher will be recruited for the project. According to the evaluation committee, 'the programme should produce a cohort of doctoral students with transformative power'.
About Thea Hilhorst
Thea Hilhorst holds the Chair of Humanitarian Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam at ISS. She leads the research project 'When disaster meets conflict’, that studies disaster governance in high-conflict, low-conflict and post-conflict societies, financed by the Dutch Research Council (VICI programme). She is an expert in development in areas affected by disaster, conflict or fragility, with a special focus on aid-society relations, including Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka.
Professor Thea Hilhorst participates in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Research Centre Governance of Migration and Diversity (GMD) in which scholars share a focus on the governance of migration and diversity.