SUCCESS STORIES

Hossein Zarei

In the early stages of Hossein’s PhD, he attended a keynote lecture on circular economy at Politecnico di Milano. One of the students asked the keynote speaker: “Is there any situation in which you think applying circular economy is not possible?”. The speaker rubbed his chin and said, after a pause: “Maybe in humanitarian supply chains where urgency is a critical matter!”. Hossein raised his hand, hesitantly, and said: “My PhD is about environmental sustainability of humanitarian supply chains…”
Hossein had ambitious dreams for his PhD to make humanitarian supply chains more environmentally sustainable, both in theory and in practice. He chose “Action Research” as the methodology of his PhD and started collaborating with a humanitarian organization on this topic, but things were not going smooth. Action research is a time-consuming methodology that takes years for the results to appear and he could not have solid results only until the third year of his PhD. Even then, when he prepared a draft of his first paper and sent it to a senior academic, he received the following feedback: “If I was a reviewer, I would have immediately rejected this paper!”. He struggled with extreme difficulties and high pressure as he had not generated any research outputs by his third year. But he stayed positive and continued working hard, and he was rewarded with the best…
Today, he is happy that he took the high road. After four rounds of extensive review, that very paper has been accepted in the International Journal of Operations & Production Management, one of the most prestigious journals in the field of operations and supply chain management. He is not hesitant anymore to raise his hand and express with confidence that sustainable humanitarian supply chain is not impossible. He is proud of having real impact on the lives of afflicted people by humanitarian crises thanks to the hands-on action research methodology he adopted.
Currently, Hossein is a Lecturer in Business Strategy and a distinguished researcher at Coventry University, UK. He developed his research collaboration with international humanitarian organizations and continues his passion: to help people through his research.

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