Molly Gilmour

Research title: How can we strengthen emergency healthcare for forced migrants situated on the edges of Europe?

Research Summary


Before beginning my PhD, I spent several years working within the humanitarian aid sector supporting operations for emergency medical provision both from the field and Head Quarters. This experience highlighted both the opportunities and challenges that service users and service providers face during the process of delivering care for refugee populations. This experience led me to write a PhD project which asks, ‘what operational changes in humanitarian medical care are needed to establish more effective and culturally appropriate aid provision’?

My PhD investigates how humanitarian medical operations are mobilised in Lebanon, and asks what might more effective and culturally appropriate refugee healthcare look like?

Key arguments used to frame this research include theories of post-coloniality and the social determents of health in spaces of aid. In August 2019, I travelled to Lebanon to work with the project partners, an international NGO and a national humanitarian medical NGO, to develop a clearer understanding of the settings in which they work and to foster the links required to conduct this research. 

Research Methods and Design

Beginning March 2020, I will return to Lebanon to commence fieldwork. This will take two broad, inter-related approaches. I will use ethnographic research techniques to explore and document how two aid agencies operate, before establishing co-development groups. Informed by a participatory action research approach, the co-development group will be made up of approximately ten staff and service users and will run for five two-hour sessions. This codevelopment group will facilitate a discussion on which health outcomes are important; what data is available and how can the data be collected and utilised.

These discussions will allow the groups to systematically reflect on the social and cultural structures within the medical aid organisations, and how improvements could be made to improve the service’s efficiency and cultural appropriation. Through supporting daily operations in a cross-case design, with both an international and national humanitarian medical NGO, I will explore the challenges and opportunities that these different organisations experience in their response to urban refugee healthcare.

RQ1: How are humanitarian medical operations mobilised to serve refugees living in Lebanon?

RQ2: How can a codevelopment group be used to meaningfully engage staff and service users to collectively improve medical aid service provision in Lebanon? 

RQ3: What operational changes in humanitarian healthcare are needed to establish more effective and culturally appropriate humanitarian medical care  

Research Interests:

  • Medical Sociology
  • Humanitarian Aid 
  • Participatory Research Methods
  • Humanitarian Affairs
  • Refugee Studies

Disciplines include: Anthropology; Psychosociology; Healthcare Organisation; Implementation Science; Biomedicine; Community Learning & Engagement and Sociology


£1,200: 2020, Economic Social Research Council and the Scottish Funding Council 

£1,000: 2019, British Sociological Society

£72,000: 2018, UofGlasgow Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD Funding

£550: 2017, National Centre for Competency in Research Travel Grant Switzerland

€300: 2017, Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies Scholarship, Greece 

€2,000: 2012 Dublin City University 



  • People on the Move in an Evolving Europe: Université de Fribourg: 20th - 25th August 2017


  • Sustainable Futures in Africa Symposium: Lira, Uganda 14th - 15th of February, 2019
  • Sustainable Futures in Africa Symposium: Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria: 12th - 15th of February, 2018
  • Sustainable Futures in Africa Symposium: University of Botswana: March 27-29 2017
  • Tackling Instability, Radicalisation and Forced Migration: Beurs van Berlage, 16th Nov, 2016
  • Towards Business Solutions for Development: Impact Hub, Amsterdam, 13th Jun, 2016
  • Doing Business in Fragile States: Beurs van Berlage, 11th Nov, 2015



2019: Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Glasgow; Scotland 

2016: Cofounder, Open Cultural Centre; Idomeni Refugee Camp, Greece

2013 – 2014: English Teacher, Fáilte Isteach; Ireland

2011 – 2013: Coordinator, SUAS Educational Development; Ireland

2011: English Summer; Spain

Additional Information


MSc. Sociology: Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam

Thesis: A Review of the Linkage Act 1998: how accessible are health services for undocumented migrants in Amsterdam?

BA (Hons) Contemporary Culture and Society, Dublin City University

Dissertation: ‘Intercultural Inclusion?’ Exploring the Irish Traveller Communities’ Perception of ‘An Garda Síochána’ [Irish Police Force]


Certificates Including:

July '20: Methods and re(design) of Fieldwork in Anthropology & STS; IT - University of Copenhagen

June '20: Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies; Emory University & CDC

May '20: Project Management (Level 3); Chartered Management Institute

Aug '17: People on the Move in an Evolving Europe (Migration Law); Université de Fribourg, Switzerland

Jan '17: Migration in the Margins of Europe (Anthropology); Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies, Athens

Aug '15: Research Methodology and Design; University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Mar '13: SUAS Global Issues Course; Dublin City University, Ireland

09-10: Journalism for the Digital Age; Dún Laoghaire Further Education Institute, Ireland



Native: English

Intermediate: Dutch, French

Beginner: Arabic, Irish


Training Including:

  • Amnesty Internatoinal: Human Rights: The Rights of Refugees 
  • Edinburgh Napier University: Ethics and Field Work in Conflict Zones
  • Levantine Institute of Tripoli: Levantine Arabic Intensive Immersion Programme
  • Médecins Sans Frontières: Reporting Gender Based Violence
  • Refugee Trauma Initiative: Mental Health First Aid
  • Shield Global: Hostile Environment Awareness Training 
  • The British Red Cross: Boundaries and Confidentiality for Refugee Support
  • The British Red Cross: Safe Talk Training - Suicide Alertness
  • The British Red Cross: Safeguarding for Refugee Support
  • The British Red Cross: Working with Interpreters
  • University of Glasgow: Qualitative Fieldwork in Conflict-Affected Settings
  • University of Glasgow: Modern Standard Arabic Level 1, 2 & 3