The attainment of a high-standard Ph.D. degree is at the core of the INTEGRIM programme. Long-term ESRs will be required to enroll in a Ph.D. programme at any INTEGRIM training partner site to participate in and complete formal postgraduate core coursework that is required and provided at the home institution. ESRs will have to comply with the eligibility requirements at the home institution, including language competence, to fully benefit from the institution’s research environment and the training programme which will be conducted in the language established by each individual training partner site. Short-term ESRs will receive tailored training according to their needs and the stage of their research project at one of the INTEGRIM Network sites

The training programme will appoint Early-stage Researchers who will participate in these specifically tailored programmes and receive career development support. All participants in the INTEGRIM Network will be integrated into the Network’s research and training programmes. The training programme will be delivered in light of the following objectives concerning the career development of the researchers:

  • Acquire sound grounding and new knowledge in the study of immigrant integration processes and policies;
  • Develop capacities for critical analysis and enhance individual competence in using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies suitable for advanced comparative research projects across Europe;
  • Establish a coherent professional development track through access to the combined knowledge of European academic and policy communities;
  • Attain professional maturity in conducting research and analysis with wide disciplinary and geographical scope;
  • Develop transferable skills appropriate for working in different knowledge generating institutions in a European context and build capacities for international collaborations;
  • Acquire additional skills for maximizing individual competitiveness in the European labour market as well as skills for participating in international comparative research;
  • Through the involvement and active participation of academics, policy makers and practitioners in the field, develop an understanding of the relationship between theory, policy and practice.

The programme, which adopts a multidisciplinary and intersectoral approach, will cover the following four research dimensions around sectoral thematic areas regarding integration processes and policies and will be structured in four scientific work packages:

The identity and cultural integration dimension addresses the increasing level of cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity of European societies and the social and political challenges it poses on states and private actors.  Since the early 1970s, as a result of decolonisation and immigration, multiculturalism thrived as a field that acknowledged minorities and ethnic communities as well as their claims for recognition and representation.  However, Europe has witnessed a political drawback on ‘immigration multiculturalism’ over the last decade. Criticism has risen in different fronts; from the ideological background of the condemnation of immigration (growing xenophobic and populist movements and political parties, declining Welfare States, and the security crisis), to multicultural identity policies. Human rights groups and other stakeholders have signalled a number of failures and shortcomings where research on these issues is necessary. Such research could set the foundations for evidence-based management and policy making on issues regarding diversity (ethnic, religious, linguistic) in our societies. The issue of managing cultural diversity is a horizontal task that involves a variety of players and contexts and includes both legal standards (anti-discrimination law and fundamental rights law) and policy measures on matters such as social cohesion and integration, equality policies, or access to and enjoyment of rights.

In what follows, the second research dimensions pertains to citizenship and political participation research dimension, the network is interested in three specific areas: (1) transnational political participation and transnational citizenship and most particularly with the political participation of emigrants in their home countries; (2) links between culture and citizenship where artistic cultural production can act as a means of integration and participation even at the political level; and (3) political participation from an original perspective. Instead of analyzing it through the lens of ethnic origin, we will also focus on the political participation of religious groups such as Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, etc. Indeed, access to citizenship and the local concentration of some religious groups in some cities represents an important electoral issue. Some possible topics to be studied include: the electoral behaviour of Muslim citizens, the ethnic vote, social network mobilization through churches or mosques or religious associations. In addition, another important issue relates to the degree of effective political participation of migrants belonging to specific ethnic minorities, in particular members of European Roma communities living in other EU member states. A further topic includes the way in which the integration processes of these ethnic communities relate to their specific situation in both countries of origin and reception.

With regard to the third research dimension, labour and social integration, the INTEGRIM Network is interested in the principles of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality or ethnic origin, which underpin systems of social provision across the European Union, where systematic patterns of inequality persist. We understand social integration as a process which results in equivalent outcomes for all members of society across all dimensions of social policy including housing, health, welfare support, education, training, employment and crime prevention. Within this context, consideration of the quality of inter-personal relations is often overlooked in the consideration of social integration processes though it may play a fundamentally more important role.  The focus here is on the patterns of access to core social services for migrants and their descendants across the European Union, with a particular concentration on employment.

Finally, within the research dimension of urban integration, residential patterns and mobility, much research has linked patterns of social similarity within neighbourhoods in the urban arena with the concept of homophilia, the desire to conduct social relationships with people who are to some degree like us. The spatial expression of this social behaviour is seen through the residential grouping of social groups, based on status and ethnic identity. The Housing policies in Europe on social and affordable housing have increasingly promoted social mix to avoid areas of concentrated ethnic groups and/or poverty reflecting more profound suppositions that link social diversity to social cohesion and increased life chances. Yet, research proving this has remained inconclusive. Patterns of urban segregation cannot easily be rendered positive or negative, rather their function differs depending on both the context and the groups involved. Ethnic segregation has been rendered the most controversial in the European context and has increasingly been charged as leading to social separateness and even ‘parallel lives’, with the responsibility shouldered by the minority.

The research programme will concentrate on these different gaps in the literature and policy, with an innovative approach that integrates complementary disciplines in one common approach. Interdisciplinarity in the network combines Law, Politics, Economics, Sociology, Education, Anthropology, Demography, Human Geography and Planning.  Thus, INTEGRIM is bringing together scholars and early stage researchers from a wide range of disciplines, providing a complementary network to further enhance empirical insights and theoretical discussions within and across what have until now been only loosely connected research fields with a focus on different dimensions.

The main features of the proposed research training programme can be described as follows:

  • It will provide high quality research training on integration policies and processes in the European Union and neighbouring countries. All European countries have gone through profound social transformations in the last three decades. European societies are facing various types and degrees of diversification, caused mainly by the persistent increase in population movements. These migration flows create social and political challenges that have to be tackled with the key concept of integration in mind. The lack of a consistent and comprehensive model for integration requires further research and analysis of the current social processes, including possible shortcomings and deficiencies, and also of the policies in place at the moment. The proposed network responds to this need. It aims to enhance the quality of the existing knowledge of scholars, policy makers, practitioners, economic actors and civil society dealing with integration. Intercultural dialogue amongst stakeholders might be interesting to the EU i.e. not only amplifying the knowledge base of stakeholders but have them discuss and work together in an interdisciplinary trans-sectoral fashion.
  • The proposed research training network will contribute to the creation of an international inter-sectoral and multidisciplinary critical mass on the politics of integration and more specifically on cultural and identity management, citizenship and political participation, labour and social integration and urban integration, residential patterns and mobility. The Network’s research is policy oriented and, not restricted to academia, with the aim to contribute to the promotion of integration to ensure social cohesion.
  • This research training programme will enrich the political and social debate through a transnational multidisciplinary analysis on the causes and conditions leading to migrant integration and economic, social and territorial cohesion. The proposed network aims to bring together key actors with proven experience and knowledge of integration policies and processes from academic, enterprise, civil society and public backgrounds. The network will not only bring together the relevant actors and capitalise their expertise but it will bring an added value by bridging the different educational, research and professional traditions in the field. The research programme will provide an integrated and critical assessment of the politics of integration to acquire more informed knowledge on the relevant dimensions of the integration agenda in the post-multicultural period.
  • This proposed programme will provide EU policy makers and practitioners with qualitative and quantitative scientific tools to inform their decision making and implementation processes on the four indicated integration policy areas.  The proposed programme aims to contribute to the EU’s integration agenda on the basis of the coherent approach to integration pursued at EU level and fostered by the European Commission. The research training programme will be aligned with the EU’s priorities and objectives highlighted in the immigrant integration agenda since the Tampere Programme in 1999 to Europe’s 2020 strategy and the recent Agenda for Integration of Third-Country nationals (2011). The Network’s research outcomes will aim to inform the political debates on integration which are held regularly as part of the Ministerial Conferences on Integration (Groningen 2004, Potsdam 2007, Vichy 2008, Zaragoza 2010) from an interdisciplinary and intersectoral perspective. The need for a European focus can be argued from a policy perspective: knowledge-based and future-oriented policies dealing with migration and integration are not only necessary, but they must inevitably be developed in the wider frame of the EU and the entire European continent.
  • Scientific quality of the research training programme.

This research training programme aims to establish a multi-site network of early stage researchers (predominantly PhD students) at eight partner institutions fostering a multidisciplinary research career on International Migration and Integration within the European context. The network will apply a qualification framework with a compatible set of qualifications/knowledge/skills across the national systems for graduates of the INTEGRIM programme. Besides, the INTEGRIM research training programme will address the integration challenges that migration flows pose to policy makers, civil society and industrial partners in Europe.