Excellence, Diversity and Growth: A historical biography of the IMISCOE Research Network

26 March 2015

By Aafke Brus, Radboud University Nijmegen

August 2014

3. Research

At the establishment of the IMISCOE, policy and research were its main topics. When IMISCOE became an IRN, the focus shifted more primarily to research and the interests of research institutes. When IMISCOE started as a Network of Excellence (NoE) nine research clusters were designed. Each cluster had a different focus ranging from the effects of international migration (cluster A1) to the different dimensions of migration, such as political, economical, cultural and social dimensions (clusters B3-B6); and from causes and consequences of migration (A2) to comparative perspectives of politics and policies related to migration and integration (C9) or the interaction between immigrants and the receiving society (C7). 

During the first year of the existence of research clusters, each cluster wrote a State of Art Report (SoAR) of the corresponding subject. After these reports, clusters further developed their ideas, tasks and goals for the next five years. Besides the different clusters, there also were several cross-cluster initiatives, which were stimulated by the Board of Directors from the beginning. Furthermore, several feasibility studies were done: INTPOL, EUROLINKS and SOCO; each focusing on specific cross-cluster topics on which IMISCOE wanted to develop further initiatives.

While the network itself extended, not only the organization itself changed but also the focus of the research clusters. The directors of institutes were dissatisfied with the research clusters that were established in the first years of IMISCOE: they were seen as too rigid and not open and flexible enough. This started to change when IMISCOE became an international research network in 2009. 

Since 2010 IMISCOE provides seed funding to selected research clusters based on an open annual call for research groups. In the IRN’s first year there were seventeen new initiatives proposed for research groups. Six of these initiatives were former clusters under a new label and a new name, the other eleven proposals were new. All in all, this has led to 48 research groups that were provided seed funding in the four calls between 2010 and 2014. Also, if a group remains active within the network for at least four years, it can be awarded the status of Standing Committee (see table 2). This means that the group will receive a special position within IMISCOE’s research strategy, at the annual conference and on the website.

Table 2: Overview of IMISCOE Standing Committees (as of April 2014)

  • Multi-Level Governance of Migration and Integration in Europe
  • Migration, Citizenship and Political Participation
  • International Migration and Social Protection: Mobility and Diversity as Challenges to Welfare Rights and Provision
  • Education and Social Mobility
  • Research-Policy Dialogues on Migration and Integration in Europe (DIAMINT)
  • Ageing Migrants: demography, welfare and agency
  • Transnational Practices in Migration
  • Popular Art, Diversity and Cultural Policies in Post-Migration Urban Settings (POPADIVCIT)

Another important development in IMISCOE’s research orientation was its increasingly interdisciplinary orientation. Whereas originally the network attracted mainly sociologists and anthropologists, especially since 2009 its disciplinary focus has broadened significant. This is a reflection of a broader trend in the field of migration and integration studies toward a more multidisciplinary orientation. A survey amongst IMISCOE members showed that the following disciplines are involved in IMISCOE (in order of total number of participants): sociology, political science, geography, anthropology, economics, education, law, demography, migration studies, policy studies (incl. public administration), history and various others.  


2. Origins and development of IMISCOE <<< 3. Research >>> 4. Publications

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