The Displacement Research and Action Network, based at MIT, is a global network on displacement and land rights that brings together activists, academics and policy makers to build new theory and evidence of the increase and intensity of mass internal displacement around the world due to development, conflict or climate disaster. DRAN draws on the interdisciplinary expertise of activists and communities, leading international organizations, as well as cross-school resources at MIT to create a shared research agenda, apply new tools and technologies toward understanding the consequences of displacement, impact law and policy, and prevent displacement that violates the economic, civil, cultural , social and political rights of affected populations on a global scale.


As one of the most far-reaching and pressing phenomena of the modern world, there is increasing evidence that displacement is not an isolated phenomenon, but linked to severe social and economic outcomes and political consequences. To address this, the Network seeks to build global collaboration, advance the frontiers of knowledge on displacement and its consequences, and influence national and global policies on displacement that promote social, cultural and economic rights. 

Displacement from homes and land is one of the root causes of dispossession and immiseration  in the modern world. Major drivers of displacement – including large infrastructure projects, forestry, climate change, urban renewal, foreign direct investment, industrial policy, climate disasters or violent conflict – violate a range of human rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations, including indigenous peoples, farmers, and rural and urban poor.


1. Provide a platform that connects activists, scholars, policymakers and human rights practitioners, and allows displaced populations to share their stories;

2. Co-produce knowledge about drivers, causes and consequences of displacement through research and the development of new tools and technologies, including methodologies of mapping displacement;

3. Contribute to the implementation of existing national and international human rights standards on displacement and the evolution of, where necessary, new  global normative and policy frameworks on displacement and land rights;

4. Assist local communities, civil society networks and social movements to better analyze the impacts of displacement and increase knowledge of advocacy tools that challenge displacement.

5. Influence country-level normative and regulatory frameworks in collaboration with national-level civil society groups and academic networks