Two years of CrossMigration: A solid basis for integrating migration research under one roof

2020-02-27 20:54:00

In March 2018, IMISCOE launched CrossMigration, a Horizon 2020 project. Its main objective was to create a platform to gather knowledge and expertise in migration. As the formal activities of the project are coming to a close we look back on two years of work, and the opportunities that this solid basis can give to migration researchers around the world.

Why a Migration Research Hub

Migration studies encompass a wide and diverse set of disciplines, it is published in an ever-growing number of journals. There is so much research about migration that it is hard to keep up with the latest developments. A need was identified to help facilitate the systematic accumulation of knowledge on migration and migration-related diversity. So the CrossMigration project set out to do just that, with more than 15 different institutes from across Europe working directly on the work packages, and the support of a larger research network from among IMISCOE’s member institutes. Further, to reflect the reality that migration is not only, or even mainly, a research endeavour, the team got to work with a policy network comprised of governmental and non-governmental representatives from European, national, and local levels of migration governance.

Getting to work 

Several events helped the initiative take shape. An introduction was made during the opening conference held at the EUI in Fiesole in May 2018. In November 2018, IMISCOE and CrossMigration held a joint conference in Rotterdam to discuss the future research infrastructure of the network. The project’s research network contributed to expert meetings on migration drivers, infrastructures, forms, governance, policy indicators, and scenarios. The policy network engaged in research-policy dialogue events; and the project was also promoted at the IMISCOE annual conference in Malmö, in June 2019.  In other words, since March 2018, CrossMigration has been working towards improving the integration, accessibility, and communication of migration research and data.

Achieving results: The Migration Research Hub

The end product of CrossMigration’s efforts was the launch of the Migration Research Hub (, the go-to resource for finding knowledge on migration under one roof. As a hub, it does not host knowledge, such as publications, but instead acts as a means of getting to the publisher’s webpage, or to a project’s homepage, or to the location of a dataset. All migration scholars around the world are invited to join the Expert Database on this platform and submit their articles, also in other languages than English.

Other outputs

Since the key goal of CrossMigration has been to facilitate systematic knowledge accumulation in the field, different work packages systematically analysed the past, present, and future of various aspects and sub-areas of research.

  • Briefs on methodological, ethical, and epistemological issues in migration studies: The Methods & Ethics Briefs are short papers that reflect on a range of methodological, ethical and epistemological questions in migration research, drawing both on concrete issues encountered in individual projects and wider topics in the field. Prepared in response to a call for papers, the briefs on methodological issues complement CrossMigration’s knowledge accumulation reports.

  • Knowledge accumulation reports
    Each of the work packages on migration drivers, infrastructures, forms, and governance, produced a knowledge accumulation report synthesising existing knowledge on their respective themes.
    Read more about knowledge accumulation on Migration Drivers
    Read more about knowledge accumulation on Migration Infrastructures
    Read more about knowledge accumulation on Migration Forms
    Read more about knowledge accumulation on Migration Governance

  • Literature review on scenarios and forecasts
    Managing migration effectively requires some degree of anticipation of future flows. In response to these needs, two types of approaches have developed in the literature in recent years: Migration forecasts, which provide quantitative estimates of future migration, and migration scenarios, which emphasise different storylines and flexibility of thought for future migration. This report presents the results of a systematic literature review of over 200 relevant publications on forecasts and scenarios. It is intended to be developed into a chapter of a textbook on migration studies. Complemented by other topics, the reports constitute the basis of a new handbook about Migration research for undergraduate and graduate level. The work on this textbook will continue in 2020.

  • Overview of Migration Policy Indicators
    Experts collected and analysed available indicators on the widest range of migration policies (e.g., admission policies, integration policies, citizenship acquisition policies, etc.). Key indicators that are the most conceptually, statistically and empirically relevant for measuring migration policies were identified and the selection of indicators was updated to include EU28 and other European countries.

  • Policy Briefs
    For policymakers a number of policy briefs were produced by the teams of the respective work packages on Drivers, Infrastructures, Forms, and Governance of migration. The key knowledge questions to which these policy briefs provided answers to were put forward by the project’s policy network and developed further by the academic researchers. The policy briefs can be found on the website.

  • Strategic Research Agenda
    The strategic research agenda is the result of a collaborative effort of the CrossMigration team led by Prof. Riccardo Pozzo. It provides a recommendation for European funding agencies regarding under-research and highly-relevant topics in the field of migration studies.

Coming to a close

Finally, in February 2020 CrossMigration held its closing conference, “The coming of age of migration studies: Debating the evolution and impact of a research field”, allowed participants to debate and reflect on the past, present, and future of the field. And this holds not only for research but also for policymakers and advocacy workers on migration. As Silvia Ganzela from Eurocities said, “I do believe that policymakers, advocacy workers and researchers should have better dialogue because we can come up with strong evidence to improve policymaking”.

One of the main takeaways of the conference dealt with the strong, yet uneven, internationalization of the field. In the words of FLACSO Argentina’s Fernando Fischman, “Uneven internationalization of scholarship is relevant, and we find that there isn’t enough dialogue, so it was very important to have brought this as a topic of reflection”. As the Migration Research Hub grows, we also hope to expand the literature in other languages added to the database. The Migration Research Hub already has a translation feature that should make it easier to reach this goal. 

All of these dialogues, discussions, and ideas for improvement and development are now going to become part of the IMISCOE Research Network. All new work will now be found at, and you can follow IMISCOE online to stay up to date. As Peter Scholten, Chair of IMISCOE said at the Closing Conference in Lisbon just this month, “The work of this research portal is not done yet. That’s my main takeaway, it’s not the end of the Migration Research Hub”. 

The CrossMigration team would like to thank all collaborators and supporters throughout these years. CrossMigration is now successfully completed, and everyone in the project team knows that we’ve helped set a strong foundation for furthering the Migration Research Hub and enhancing and improving the systematic accumulation of knowledge in the field.

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