Exploring the resilience of entrepreneurs in contexts of violent conflict

Dr Doaa Althalathini tells us about her research as well as her experience as an international student

Dr Doaa Althalathini completed her PhD in 2020 and now works as a Senior Lecturer in Business and Enterprise at Oxford Brookes University. 



Pursuing my PhD dream

"I always wanted to do a PhD and research entrepreruship in contexts of political instability. 
I did my masters at the University of Sussex in 2015 on poverty and development. During this learning journey, I was very much interested in the work of Dr Haya Al-Dajani, who was working at the University of Plymouth, on entrepreneurship among Palestinian women refugees. So I contacted her to ask if she accepted doctoral supervisees. 
I started my PhD at the University of Plymouth in 2016 with generous partial funding from the University. I feel fortunate that I had a great and supportive supervisory team, who were always available when I needed their advice. 
The aim of my research was to explore the factors that influence the resilience of entrepreneurs in contexts of violent conflict. My research contributes to inform policy and practice in order to design programs and policies that are sensitive to the needs of entrepreneurs in these particular contexts. This in turn can enhance development and promote peace. 
I completed my PhD in 2020 and now I work as a Lecturer in Business and Enterprise at Oxford Brookes University. 
My research has led me to participate in international conferences and I have won different awards through the dissemination of my research, including the best poster presentation and the best literature review.  I have published a paper from my PhD work in the Journal of Business Ethics, which is one of the 50 journals used by the Financial Times (16/50). I also wrote a policy brief on supporting women entrepreneurship in conflict ridden states. 

Developing academically and professionally

Focusing only on the PhD might be stressful and demotivating. However, the support I received from the Faculty and the University of Plymouth enabled me to develop both academically and professionally. 
I benefitted from research training and gained experience as an Associate Lecturer and Research Assistant. The University also provided me with many opportunities to gain experience in communicating effectively at various University levels. For example, I was a member of the organising committee of the Faculty Doctoral Conference and Postgraduate Research Café. I was also representing PhD scholars at both the University Doctoral College Board Committee and Faculty Doctoral Committee. 
These activities enabled me to communicate with other students, share our experiences and research and learn in a very productive environment. The experiences and skills I gained during my study at the University were valuable and helped me to gain my lectureship position at Oxford Brookes University while I was in the end of my doctoral study.

The perfect location

I feel very lucky that I did my doctoral study in one of the most interesting cities in the UK. Being able to enjoy the ocean and the walk to the historic Barbican and the Hoe. Almost every weekend I visited somewhere in Devon and Cornwall, which I consider the paradise on earth. The nature, landscape, countryside, the ocean, and everything are just spectacular and helped me to relax and recharge my energy for the week. Overall, I had a very exciting and enjoyable research journey, which will forever remain in my memory."
Doaa Althalathini's study 'Harnessing women’s entrepreneurial spirit in conflict zones'