The Research Social Platform on Migration and Integration (ReSOMA)
This edition’s spotlight focuses on ReSOMA who will take us on a tour of their work focused on the interaction between research and social agents. Moreover, this is followed by a piece written by ICMPD where they reflect on the reseach-policy nexus. Enjoy your read!
Funded under the H2020 programme, the ReSOMA virtual community has fostered regular exchanges between researchers and stakeholders for evidence-based European policies recommendations on migration and integration.
The 2-year project (2018-2020) gathered evidence on 18 high-impact policy topics in the areas of asylum, migration and integration and on which EU-level decisions were likely to be taken. Partners engaged with a community of over 1400 experts working on these issues through a wide range of consultations that included online surveys, feedback meetings, video interviews and written contributions. The size and excellence of the ReSOMA community allowed partners to access key evidence from all across the EU and at European, national and local level.
The Consortium featured a unique partnership of European civil society, local authorities, think tanks and research networks with partners well networked to both research communities (MPG, CEPS, ISMU and Erasmus University Rotterdam), national stakeholders (PICUM, ECRE, EUROCITIES and Social Platform) and policymakers. Thanks to the Advisory Board, a body created under the project and bringing together relevant European policymakers, ReSOMA could identify the key agenda priorities, policy options and policy perceptions in a flexible and impactful manner.
EY was the technical partner for the platform development.
Meet the ReSOMA Team:
The two rounds of annual consultations resulted in 80 publications assessing the impact of European decisions on national and local policies and practice while also providing recommendations on reforms. Because ReSOMA offered structured opportunities to come up with solutions to real-life, urgent problems, some of these publications received prominent media attention.
As a project addressed to researchers and stakeholders, ReSOMA has championed a new collaborative approach to research and practice that allows members from different professional communities to interact, create synergies and enhance reflexivity. In particular, this research-policy dialogue was implemented as a research-social-policy dialogue where regular collaborations between researchers and civil society have a great potential to create impact. The interest and involvement of IMISCOE has been critical to strengthen this approach and ensure its sustainability. At the end of the project, the ReSOMA Consortium and IMISCOE agreed to continue the evidence-based structured dialogue beyond 2020 and launched the new ReSOMA chapter at its final conference in Lisbon (5-6/02/2020).
ReSOMA will continue to work on salient policy topics by providing researchers and stakeholders with opportunities to network strategically both online and in ad-hoc events, share their evidence and gain visibility. The topics for 2020 are:
We also asked the insightful ICMPD to reflect on the policy-research nexus. Here’s what they told us:
Overcoming the structural communication gap between research and policy requires the development of bridging formats that translate the needs of policy-makers to researchers and vice-versa, while safeguarding independence of research.
The legitimation of political decisions in Europe has changed massively over the last 30 years and the demand for evidence-based policymaking has gained ground. This development is intrinsically linked to the principles of “good governance”, which demands that political decisions are evidence driven and relate to scientific knowledge. Since its very foundation, ICMPD has been tasked to provide expertise and advice to policy makers and as a corollary has engaged in research activities and data collection. When the IMISCOE was born on the initiative of a few distinguished migration scholars, ICMPD joined the network with the aim to facilitate co-operation and synergy and to respond to an increased demand for a more policy relevant migration research.
ICMPD is convinced that scientific research is inevitable for policy development and that good quality policy-making depends on high quality information and empirical foundations. Thus, evidence-based policy advice requires qualified research; on the other side, it is difficult to imagine research without the stimulation of policy relevant questions.
Even though the term “evidence based policies” has become part of the everyday prose of policy makers all over the world, the reality is still different. It would be superficial to understand this palpable tension between research and policy-making as reflecting the attitudes of researchers and policymakers. Policy-making and scientific research are two different subsystems of society, which necessarily follow different rules of action. They use different languages, have different priorities, agendas, timescales, reward systems. Nevertheless, these opposing world-views are not a nuisance, but rather prerequisites for the functioning of the respective systems. Nor do these differences prohibit cooperation. However, good cooperation does necessitate awareness of such differences and finding ways to handle them in a productive manner. This is even more important in a policy field like migration, where conflicts between the acknowledgement of research findings and the pressures of day-to-day policy considerations occur quite frequently.
As an intergovernmental migration organisation with one foot in scientific research and the other in the world of government policies and international relations, ICMPD actively engages in fostering this cooperation by pursuing both, the objective of academic rigour and of policy relevance in the different policy context. Still, overcoming the structural communication gaps between research and policy- making is not an easy task. By applying a three-pronged approach: migration dialogues, capacity building, and research and policy support, ICMPD reflects and works on these challenges on a daily basis. Evidence does not speak for itself and policy development is a complex process of myriad paths. Unbiased and rigorously produced evidence and persuasion are essential. In order to be considered it needs the right language, the right formats and the right moments. It requires patience and persistence on the researchers’ side and it requires the development of bridging formats that translate the needs of policy-makers to researchers and vice-versa, while safeguarding independence of research. Related formats must be based on exchange between researchers and policy-makers at eye level, whereby both parties accept their different roles and the need for separation between the two spheres as a precondition for successful cooperation.