Hossein Baharmand, Phd student at the Industrial Engineering Center wins the HUMLOG Best Doctoral Thesis Award 2019.
Congratulations to Hossein Baharmand who won the HUMLOG Best Doctoral Thesis Award 2019. His research works aim to improve the performance of humanitarian logistics. The HUMLOG Institute (Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute) is a focal point for researchers in humanitarian logistics.
We met Hossein to get to know him better and to discover his research works at IMT Mines Albi.
Hello Hossein, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Hossein Baharmand and I’m 33, Iranian and I live in Norway. I have academic backgrounds in Mechanical (Bachelor’s) and Industrial Engineering (Master’s) from Iranian Universities and have a couple of years of work experience from industry.
Can you describe your research works in IMT Mines Albi?
You may know that Bam, a small city in Iran, was hit by a major earthquake in 2003 which killed more than 20.000 people. I lost several relatives in that earthquake and there were many shortcomings in humanitarian operations after the earthquake. It was the main motivation that I decided to continue my studies with a focus on humanitarian operations. The dream came true in 2015 and I dedicated my PhD to improving the performance of humanitarian logistics.
IMT Mines Albi has a nice working atmosphere and is definitely filled with knowledgeable professors, and motivated researchers and PhD students. Matthieu Lauras, one of my PhD supervisors, works at IMT Mines Albi and I had the privilege to visit his lab twice in different stages of my PhD. I had fruitful discussions with Matthieu, Frederick, and others at IMT Mines Albi. I think those visits and discussions helped me to sharpen my ideas. I also believe that those visits affected my perspectives on teamwork, social engagements, and work-life balance in a positive way. I made several awesome friends in IMT Mines Albi, too.
Why did you choose IMT Mines Albi to make your thesis?
Matthieu Lauras had good connections and collaborations with my other supervisor, Prof. Tina Comes at the University of Agder, everything started there. I met Matthieu for the first time a few months after I started my PhD at the University of Agder. We were hosting the ISCRAM 2015 conference and Matthieu was attending the conference. It was a great opportunity for me to discuss my ideas related to humanitarian logistics and supply chains with Matthieu. Tina had informed me earlier that Matthieu is very knowledgeable and has a well-established lab at IMT Mines Albi that works on humanitarian operations. I was lucky that Matthieu accepted to be one of my supervisors. He and Tina supported me significantly along the way.
In what context did you receive this award and can you give us your reaction ?
I think I was shopping groceries at a supermarket near our apartment when I received the email. At first I didn’t look at the email carefully because I was not expecting it. I just read the notification on my phone with the subject of email: Your thesis won … (the subject was shortened). So, I just put the phone back to my pocket. When I was in the cashier to pay for my stuff, I looked at my phone again and I was literally in the air and laughing. I was extremely happy and surprised. I read the email 3 or 4 times, I think! Then I called my wife!
What does this award mean to you?
It means a lot actually. I have a feeling that my work has been seen, recognized and valued. This was the ultimate aim of me, I think; to work on something that others see and care about. During the last years, I did my best for this achievement and I think, I couldn’t make it without the help and support of my supervisors. And I have to mention the value of all insights that I received from practitioners and experts during my PhD. The prize is the outcome of teamwork, patience, motivation, and good support.
What are your projects for the future?
I’m currently a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Agder. I’m now working on blockchain technology in the humanitarian operations. Blockchain has lots of potentials specifically when it is combined with Internet of Things (IoT). I’m now following leads in this field but I’m also trying to expand my research, teaching, and analysis skills. I have some papers in the pipeline and have reserved some others for future. I definitely want to keep my connection with Matthieu, Frederick and other good friends at IMT Mines Albi and, by the way, hopefully I’ll visit IMT Mines Albi again next year!