New generation of researchers to increase our understanding of migration and integration

November 3, 2017

Brief results and reflections by the European Commission on the INTEGRIM: Integration and International Migration doctoral training project:

According to the latest United Nations (UN) figures, there are 214 million international migrants worldwide and another 740 million internal migrants. With increasing and ageing populations, environmental deterioration and increased globalisation all forecasted to continue through the decade, the migrant issue isn't going away any time soon. As a result, international migration, already at the top of the EU's political agenda, must be analysed from an integration perspective as the key factor for the future cohesion of European societies. To help with this analysis, the EU-funded INTEGRIM project brought together a range of top researchers all dedicated to enhancing Europe's academic research capacity, encouraging policy-relevant research on integration and diversity management and facilitating the use of this research by governments and non-governmental organisations. By bringing together key actors with proven experience and knowledge on integration policies and processes, the INTEGRIM project provided high-quality research training on the topic and contributed to the creation of an international, inter-sectoral and multidisciplinary group of young scholars. 'The project gave a significant boost to the participating researchers' career prospects by creating a robust academic network of excellence on migration and integration,' says project coordinator Eduardo Ruiz.

A significant contribution

During the course of the project, INTEGRIM supported a range of research efforts that continue to have a profound impact on our understanding of migration. For example, seven high-class PhD theses have been awarded – some of which won prizes and will be published in reputed periodicals – and another 13 will be awarded by the end of 2018. 'The topics of these theses range from rich anthropological accounts of migrant workers' conditions to legal analysis of migration policies, from sociological work on cultural and identity aspects of mobility to studies that unpack multi-level governance and the impact migration has on cities,' says Ruiz. 'Each are connected by a common thread – the commitment to developing sound, policy-relevant research on migration and integration processes.'

Advancing synergies and cooperation

In addition to these theses, several INTEGRIM researchers have subsequently been awarded fellowships to carry on their work at various academic institutions. The project is also responsible for the publishing of over 30 academic articles on migration and integration, along with two books. Many fellows learned new languages and acquired new methodological tools and skills that will increase their job prospects, both in the academic and non-academic fields. Furthermore, the project encouraged researchers to take an active role in project-writing, doing peer reviews, participating in scientific committees and congresses, and gaining valuable experience in various research-oriented tasks.

'The project's most lasting result is its fostering of a cohesive network of young, excellent researchers who are passionate about social equality and migration issues,' says Ruiz. 'Well after the close of this project, these researchers will continue to collaborate across geographic and disciplinary distances and carry European research into the future.'

According to Ruiz, INTEGRIM contributed to advancing both synergies and cooperation across national, linguistic and disciplinary boundaries. It did this by providing training, facilitating research mobility and encouraging cultural exchanges. 'Through INTEGRIM, researchers were catalysts for cooperation and partnerships that will continue after the project's completion have been solidified,' he says.