The directorship runs on a three-yearly cycle, rotating among senior academic staff of the Centre. Professor Betts succeeds Professor Dawn Chatty in the role, who led the RSC from 2011-2014.
He expressed hope that the work of the RSC would continue to be a valuable tool in alleviating what are some of the world's most difficult challenges:
I am delighted to be Director of the RSC. We live at a time when there is a global crisis of displacement. More people are displaced than at any time since the Second World War and the drivers of displacement are becoming ever more complex. Against this backdrop, creative thinking is needed more than ever. For over 30 years, the RSC has been the world's leading research institution in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. My hope is that, through our research, teaching and outreach activities, we can provide the intellectual leadership needed to address contemporary humanitarian challenges.
Professor Betts is Leopold Muller Associate Professor in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and Director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project. He is also a Fellow of Green-Templeton College at the University of Oxford, where he was previously the Hedley Bull Research Fellow in International Relations. He received his MPhil (in Development Studies, with Distinction) and DPhil (in International Relations) from the University of Oxford.
His research focuses on the international politics of asylum, migration and humanitarianism with a geographical focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. His recent books include Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement (Cornell University Press, 2013) and Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice (with Phil Orchard, Oxford University Press, 2014). He is the author, with Louise Bloom, Josiah Kaplan and Naohiko Omata, of the recent report Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions.
He is author of over 50 articles, book chapters and working papers and his work has appeared in a range of peer reviewed journals including Global Governance, Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Refugee Studies, International Journal of Refugee Law and Refugee Survey Quarterly.
He has worked for UNHCR and as a consultant to the Council of Europe, UNDP, UNICEF, IOM and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and his work has been funded by, amongst others, the MacArthur Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and the Economic and Social Research Council. He has also served on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) and has held teaching and research positions at Universite Libre de Bruxelles, the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford University.