Refugee Law Initiative researching on the frontline

Wednesday 2 August 2017

In the thick of natural disasters or war, aid groups work through the chaos to bring basic services, and dignity, to the victims. Under such pressure it’s hard to see the bigger picture, to collect data and assess whether and how aid could be better delivered. Now researchers from the Refugee Law Initiative research centre at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, are helping to tackle this problem.

They are core partners in the £7.5m RECAP (Research capacity building and knowledge generation to support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics) project, which will bring together leading international organisations to shape and improve humanitarian policies.

It is funded through Research Councils UK Collective Fund, which is part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), and led by Professor Bayard Roberts of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

As a major international project it aims to help aid organisations improve their preparedness and responses to humanitarian crises and epidemics.

Within the RECAP project, the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) will lead on accountability in the protection sector and contribute to work on accountability in the health sector.

‘Work on protection is central to supporting accountability, especially in the forced displacement contexts. Ensuring that authorities and other humanitarian actors respect their obligations and the rights of individuals and vulnerable populations is an important part of accountability,’ said Dr David James Cantor and Dr Sarah Singer, both of the RLI.

With NGO partners Médecins sans Frontières, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and Bangladesh’s BRAC (the largest NGO in the world), RECAP will conduct studies and training in some of the world’s humanitarian crises hotspots. The network will also include the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon, the University of Sierra Leone, LSE and the University of Oxford.

‘RECAP is an important new collaboration that will help fill crucial knowledge gaps on delivering health and protection services in humanitarian crises,’ said Professor Roberts. ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this funding and look forward to working with our partners around the world. Together, the network aims to generate and collate vital data which will hopefully lead to the development of new, strong policies that could make a difference to the lives of thousands of people around the world.’

GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund that supports cutting-edge research which addresses the global issues faced by developing countries. £225 million has been invested from the GCRF across 37 interdisciplinary projects to address challenges in fields such as health, humanitarian crises, conflict, the environment, the economy, domestic violence, society and technology.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: ‘The UK’s research and innovation system is world leading, and at a time when the pace of scientific discovery and innovation is quickening, we are placing science and research at the heart of our Industrial Strategy to build on our global leadership and ensure the UK continues to be a nation of science and technical progress.

‘By sharing our expertise with countries around the world, and investing £1.5bn to 2020/21 in the Global Challenges Research Fund, we stand committed to helping developing countries tackle some of the greatest global issues of our time.’ 

For all enquiries, please contact Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, SAS, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8859 / maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk . Images available on request.