Author a concept

The Humanitarian Encyclopedia is looking for researchers and humanitarian practitioners to co-produce concept entries, expertise notes and other material on 129 concepts for its interactive online platform.

Until now, we have asked humanitarians “how do you speak humanitarian?” and found 129 key concepts used by humanitarians to explore. Now, we want to explain the consensus and diversity in how humanitarians use these concepts in practice, based on a unique linguistic methodology. We now want to explain:

How do humanitarians speak humanitarian?

We are currently focusing on the following concepts which have been important in the COVID-19 pandemic:

Are you interested in another concept not on this list? Check out all our 129 concepts here and let us know which one you are interested in.

About you?

A humanitarian professional and/or researcher interested and motivated to volunteer time to write about a key humanitarian concept or term. You should have:

  • 5 years of work experience in the humanitarian action OR 3 years of experience conducting research on humanitarian action (i.e. advanced PhD candidate or higher) 


  • Demonstrated interested in one of the concepts above listed concepts as indicated by your:
    • CV
    • Short motivation statement (1 paragraph)
    • Writing example for which you have been sole or lead author (academic article, blog post, report, etc.)
    • Summary paragraph on the concept of risk.
    • Indication of your availability (between October and December 2020)

To write strong concept entries and contribute actively to the Humanitarian Encyclopedia’s online discussion threads and webinars about the concepts, we value the following skills and competencies:

  • Passion for humanitarian action
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English
  • Attention to detail
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Data collection, analysis and visualisation
  • Problem-solving
  • Technical skills (word processing, spreadsheets, graphics) 
  • Critical thinking
  • Citations and referencing 
  • Communication
  • Respect for others
  • Integrity

Please note this work is unpaid but you may gain the following:

  • Membership in an online community of researchers and practitioners interested in humanitarian action
  • Opportunity to publish your work on the concept online on the Humanitarian Encyclopedia platform
  • Guidance and support from experienced researchers and practitioners
  • Opportunity to learn and critically evaluate methodologies for concept analysis
  • Access to data and resources on humanitarian concepts

Please submit your application for a concept entry here:

    If you have any questions, please email the Research Coordinator (

    Deadline for submission: 29 October 2020

    About us?

    The Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies

    The Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies is a unique teaching, research and policy platform for humanitarian action. We are a joint centre of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the University of Geneva, two internationally renowned centres of academic excellence.

    About the Humanitarian Encyclopedia

    The Humanitarian Encyclopedia (HE) offers an inclusive online space for dialogue and promotes co-production of new knowledge to enhance collaboration in future humanitarian responses. In particular, the Humanitarian Encyclopedia is:

    • A living repository of co-produced humanitarian concepts
    • An open source library of relevant humanitarian resources
    • A dynamic mapping of humanitarian actors
    • An interactive platform with online forums, webinars and e-learning modules

    What to expect as an author?

    As an concept entry author, you will receive the following to guide your drafting:

    1. Guidance note for authors (see below)
    2. Linguistic analysis report about your concept (see here)
    3. Concept entry template and examples (see below)
    4. Full example of a final concept entry output (see e.g. affected population)

    Your task is to complete the as many sections of the template as relevant to build a comprehensive concept entry for the Encyclopedia. The Research Coordinator will be available to guide your through this process. You will have one month to draft the concept entry from start to finish.

    You may also consider elaborating on specific debates or practical issues in an “expertise note”, which can take a range of formats. Please don’t hesitate to express your interest in writing an expertise note to the Research Coordinator.

    Guidance note for authors

    Concept entry template

    Concept drafting FAQs