Advancing Alternative Migration Governance (ADMIGOV)

Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu, Ayşen Üstübici

Researcher: TBA

Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: The international consortium Advancing Alternative Migration Governance (ADMIGOV) will investigate the conformity of European migration policy in practice with the basic principles of the United Nations. This project has received a subsidy of €3 million under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission and has a duration of 4 years. The European Union is firmly committed to the 2016 New York Declaration and the 2030 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In these treaties, states have agreed to cooperate and take common responsibility for migration and refugee issues, and work to end extreme poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change worldwide. What type of migration policy can contribute to putting these principles and priorities into practice? The international team will analyse current migration and focus on three basic situations in which EU and national policy are implemented: (1) entry/access to the EU; (2) leaving the EU (voluntarily or not); and (3) innovative possibilities for temporary and circular migration. The team looks in detail at the implementation of two basic principles: the protection principle and the principle to support development goals. It also focuses on possible tensions between different policy solutions (such as the tension between protecting and controlling) as well as between existing policies and the unprecedented numbers of migrants in practice. The research will be carried out in the prosperous part of the EU (such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) as well as at the edges of the EU (Greece, Turkey, Spain and Poland). In addition, the team will collect data from migrants en route, and investigate the situation in countries of origin and transit situations such as Lebanon, Niger and Ethiopia. By choosing these locations, the team hopes to gain insight into the most crucial and problematic processes around migration and migration policy that are currently at play.

Partners: The project is being coordinated by Dr Anja van Heelsum (principal investigator), Dr Jeroen Doomernik, Dr Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Dr Barak Kalir. The University of Amsterdam conducts the research together with the Maastricht, Aegean, Aalborg, Barcelona (UB), Brussels (ULB), Wrocław and Addis Ababa universities, as well as Koç University, the American University in Beirut, Clingendael Institute, the Centre for International Information and Documentation in Barcelona and the Danish Refugee Council.

Aligning Migration Management and the Migration-Development Nexus (MIGNEX)

Principal Investigators: Ayşen Üstübici, Ahmet İçduygu

Researcher: TBA

Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: Two of the most influential ideas in migration research and policy are ‘migration management’ and ‘the migration–development nexus’. In Europe no less than in other regions of the world, each of these notions has spawned substantial research. But the connections between the two remain elusive. Addressing migration challenges requires an approach that aligns the two research fields and translates the linkages into policy implications. This is the challenge at the heart of MIGNEX. To our knowledge, MIGNEX is the largest European-funded research project on migration. This feature attests to the complexity and potential impact of the project. (Other research initiatives with larger budgets have addressed migration as one of several topics, been programmes rather than focused projects, or had other forms of funding.) The project will run for five years from September 2018. Primary field research will take place in ten countries of origin and transit: Afghanistan, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Data collection will encompass policy reviews, key informant interviews, focus groups, and a large sample survey. Much of the data collection will be focused on 25 research areas spread across the ten countries, allowing for identifying mechanisms at the local level.

Project Website: MIGNEX

Newsletter: MIGNEX will produce a quarterly newsletter with updates about the project’s activities and results, starting in the first half of 2019. Sign up here.

Partners: The project is carried out by a consortium of nine institutions:

  • Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway – Coordinator
  • Danube University Krems, Austria
  • University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Koç University, Turkey
  • Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan
  • University of Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI), United Kingdom
  • University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Samuel Hall, Afghanistan

COST ACTION CA16111 - International Ethnic and Immigrant Minorities' Survey Data Network

Management Committee Members (Turkey): Ahmet İçduygu, Sedef Turper

Duration: 21/04/2017 – 20/04/2021

Researcher: Burak Ağalday

Funder: European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST)

Overview: The main goal of this network is to bring together researchers, policy makers, and survey data producers to join efforts to improve the access, usability, dissemination and standards of the multiple and scattered survey data that exist on the economic, social and political integration of ethnic and migrant minorities (EMMs). This Action is both relevant and timely, as it will provide the mechanisms that will enhance the research capacity in Europe in the field of EMMs’ economic, social and political integration, and will allow a solid and evidence based transfer of knowledge to policymakers and civil society organizations about the key consequences and social processes related to the integration of EMMs in European societies and elsewhere. The COST network will focus at once on multiplying research capacity and on transferring knowledge to a multiplicity of audiences and stakeholders.
The network will achieve these goals by compiling, documenting, archiving and pooling a large amount of data coming from various comparable studies conducted around Europe, thus providing the means to improve the empirical basis of high-quality research. Data will be made available on an web-based platform or Data Hub. The Action also includes a specific research training and educational component with the aim of guaranteeing that these coordinated efforts are carried over into the future through the next generations of researchers.

Parties: The Action is backed by 47 proposers undertaking research in 20 European countries and the US and its composition is balanced in terms of gender, geography, type of organization and career stage.


Fluctuations in Migration Flows on the Balkans Route

Principal Investigators: Ayşen Üstübici, Ahmet İçduygu

Duration: November 2018 – September 2019

Researcher: Eda Kirişçioglu

Funder: The WODC (Research and Documentation Centre) of the Ministry of Justice and Security in Netherlands

Overview: This research aims to unpack the changing dynamics of the migration flows on the Western Balkans route including: the policy environment regarding the migration context on the Western Balkans route; the decision making of migrants to take this route (or not); and the overall aspirations and destination choices of migrants on this route. The project aims to address the interplay of policy dynamics, migrants’ decision making, and migration flows and to ascertain how different interventions, including potential future interventions, may impact migration flows. MiReKoc team is responsible of data collection and analysis in Turkey.

Partners: Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Erasmus University Rotterdam

PEACEMAKERS - Peace Dialogue Campus Network: Fostering Positive Attitudes between Migrants and Youth in Hosting Societies (2017-2020)

Principal Investigators: Şebnem Köşer Akçapar

Funder: ERASMUS+ Project

Overview: Over the past years the Eurasian landscape has witnessed unprecedented levels of international migration. The UN statistics estimated that in 2015 the number of international migrants worldwide reached 244 million, including almost 20 million refugees. The humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa result in more people seeking to improve their lives outside of their homelands.

The background information gathered from partnering institutions showcases that the number of migrants/refugees is on the increase, and lack of effective communication and social inclusion due to cultural conflicts and prejudices is a growing issue in common throughout Turkey and Europe. Based on this reality, this project aims to foster a more peaceful generation in Europe and in Turkey that approaches migrants with positive attitudes to tackle prejudices, discrimination and racism, and to promote social inclusion through intercultural communication, interaction and empathy. This is also the reason why it needs to be carried out transnationally.

The project aims to achieve this objective via an international peace dialogue campus network of university students, led by 24 “Peace Envoys” that will be trained for 2 years in the Peacemakers project to develop their problem solving, critical thinking, collaborative working and conflict resolution skills through rigorous academic preparation, experiential education and leadership development. Both formal (online course) and non-formal (train-the-trainer camps) education methods will be used. The 24 Peace Envoys will be composed of 6 students from each partner university. They will gather in 3 train-the-trainer camps in Istanbul, Florence, Rotterdam respectively. In these camps, the Peace Envoys will be trained as trainers, who will be assigned, right after C1, with the task of training student groups and creating peace dialogue students’ clubs in their home universities, which will finally become a “Peace Dialogue Campus Network”.

This project will be complementary to previously EU funded projects that aimed to foster peacebuilding and conflict resolution activities by targeting university students in some key European countries where racial, ethnic, cultural and migration-related conflicts have begun to take a worrying prominence. It will also complement the existing peacebuilding, conflict resolution and intergroup dialogue academic and extracurricular activities on campuses by giving it a wider conceptual and goal-oriented framework. It innovates by pulling together 6 universities from 5 different Erasmus program countries to do peacemaking activities on a common platform and then back on their own campuses to contribute to peacebuilding.

Through promoting intercultural learning, cultural interaction and social inclusion, this project will contribute to the concept of European Citizenship, which is among the priorities of the EU policies. It will contribute to the learning mobility of individuals, because 1) 24 students will travel to Erasmus program countries for training and academic and intercultural exchanges, as well as 7 academic and administrative staff members, and 2) Erasmus exchange students will have the chance to take our online course (O3), when they go to the partner universities in this project that will offer it as part of their curricula.

The project will utilize non-formal education / blended education tools while training the participants as trainers. A “Manuel for Train the Trainer Camp” and “Peace Envoy Handbook” (O3), and eventually a “Peace Dialogue Campus Network Best Practice Guide” (O4) will be prepared.

Another innovative output of the project is the creation of an online course that will be offered to all students in partner universities. Students will take this course in a given semester and earn ECTS or a certificate of participation once they complete it successfully. The curriculum of this course will be designed based on a need analysis (O1), and the final report of C1. All of the partner universities will share what they do on social inclusion in the project network and therefore that information will be accessible for all parties, which is another part of the innovative nature of the project.


  • UNIBO (IT);
  • Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin (DE);
  • Erasmus Rotterdam University (NL);
  • Gaziantep Universitesi (TK);
  • Universidad Abierta (PT)

Interactive Social Integration Model for Improving Migration Governance in Turkey

Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu

Investigators: Nathan Bertelsen (Koç University), Özgür İlke Şanlıer Yüksel (Çukurova University), Şebnem Köşer Akçapar (Koç University), Sedef Turper (Koç University), Kadir Onur Unutulmaz (Social Sciences University of Ankara)

Researchers: Salih Tosun, Feyza Köseoğlu Darılmaz, Duygu Merve Uysal, Burak Ağalday

Funder: TUBITAK 1003 Program

Overview:The Project assesses the increasing migration movements in Turkey over the medium and long term results to discuss governance issues of migration in Turkey. The study will examine the relevant regulations introduced by the central government, as well as how these regulations are implemented by different actors at the local level. In addition, the findings obtained from this study will be based on a historical framework and will examine the reasons, how they affect our cities in different periods and different kinds of immigration movements in different periods since the 1990s. The research project also aims to renew and improve the existing immigration and migration policy governance concepts and practices of migration movements of the last thirty years in Turkey in the light of their effects of on the urban transformation. The research project will analyze the relationships between the migration processes and the transformations in the cities in different regions of our country by gathering and evaluating the data of local governments, local people and migrants arriving in different periods with scientific methods.

Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System under Pressure and Recommendations for Further Development (CEASEVAL)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Damla B. Aksel

Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: Since 2015, migration towards and within Europe has created a ‘stress’ in the EU asylum and migration systems. This migration situation has challenged the adequacy of the design of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and national asylum systems, it has impacted the implementation of these systems in practice, it has politicised the discourses about migration in Europe, it has led to a reintroduction of borders, and it has questioned the issue of solidarity within and between Member States and the relationships of the EU with neighbouring countries. Considering the obvious malfunctions of the CEAS which have been exacerbated in the context of the so-called ‘migration crisis’ in Europe since 2015, CEASEVAL will carry out a comprehensive analysis of harmonization which goes beyond the formal institutional setting and takes into account the complex formal and informal relations among the actors engaged at the different levels. CEASEVAL will apply a multilevel governance approach to identify and evaluate the factors which can explain the success and failure of coordinated action between varied actors (EU institutions, EU Member States, non-EU states, local institutions, while also taking into account public opinions, media representations and political actions, as well as ‘irregular’ migrants, asylum seekers and refugees), in order to comprehensively and innovatively reassess the CEAS in terms of its framework and its practice.

Integration and Well-Being of Syrian Youth in Turkey

Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu (MiReKoc), Rebecca Bryant (Utrecht University)

Researchers:  Ayşen Üstübici (Koç), Maya Mamish (LSE), Maissam Nimer (Koç), Amal Abdulla (Koç), Birce Altıok (Koç), Evin Millet

Funder: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) & Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK & Volkswagen Stiftung Foundation

Overview: The joint project of Koc University – MiReKoc and London School of Economic (LSE) – The European Institute aims at assessing the needs of youth whose status is shifting from refugee to immigrant as a result of the prolonged conflict, and at developing concrete organisational and policy suggestions for social and economic integration. Almost all field studies indicate that as the war continues, Syrian citizens in Turkey are being transformed from temporary refugees to permanent immigrants, investing and planning for a future in this neighboring country. The research will specifically focus on one of the most vulnerable groups within the refugee population: youth whose futures are being put on hold. Children below the age of eighteen constitute approximately half of the refugee population. We will focus on the group between 15 and 30 years of age, a time when one would ordinarily be planning for the future, including  transition from education to labour market, marrying and building a family. Many in this age group would have attended university and started a professional career in Syria. The project will assess their backgrounds, including educational level and skills; their educational, work, and health needs; and their visions of the future. Outputs of the project will include a gender-based analysis of refugee youth needs in terms of education, labour market and health;  a mapping of the institutions that youth use to access opportunities; and concrete recommendations for harnessing the human capital represented by youth in Turkey and for responsibility sharing in Europe.

Forced Migration Resource Center

Researchers: Souad Osseiran

Overview: Forced Migration Resource Center at Koc University (FMRC) is an online platform established by Migration Research Center at Koc University (MiReKoc) in partnership with Vehbi Koc Foundation (VKV). The platform draws together a diverse collection of reliable and accurate resources concerning forced migration in general and Syrian refugees in particular. The center provides online and free access to anyone – that is, individual researchers, universities, civil society organizations, international organizations, policy makers, media, and displaced persons themselves seeking information into issues related to forced migration and asylum. The primary aim of FMRC is to increase the research capacity of all state and non-state actors working in the field and enhance inter-institutional communication among civil society, academia, policy-makers and international organizations addressing the issue of forced migration. It also aims to prevent the information pollution and regulate the overload of information in the field.

Language Instruction for Syrian Adaptation to National context (LISAN)

Principal Investigator: Maissam Nimer

Funder: Koc University

Overview: This research project aims to examine the role of language instruction in the integration process of Syrian refugees to the Turkish context to make recommendations about how the delivery, availability and accessibility of language instruction can be improved, and lead to education and employment.

A Comparative Approach to Access of Syrian Refugees to Language Instruction

Principal Investigator: Maissam Nimer

Funder: Mercator- Istanbul Policy Center

Overview: This research project aims to examine the role of language instruction in the integration process of Syrian refugees in two national contexts (Turkey and Germany) with regards to language instruction through a systematic review of literature, interviews with stakeholders and participant observations. It also examines the migrants’ experiences, agency and trajectories in the process of language acquisition through in-depth interviews with refugees.

Destigmatization Strategies of Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Germany, and the United States

Principal Investigator:Çetin Çelik

Funder: Fulbright Comission (

Overview: Much of the research on immigrant integration deals with immigrants themselves, with the material resources, the social and cultural capital they bring with them, and their ability to use such resources and capital to build new lives in the host country. Much less attention has been paid to the ethnic-racial hierarchies, the institutional regulations, and the opportunity structure framed by these arrangements. The research aims to question, revisit, and revise the intense focus on the sociocultural resources of immigrants in integration research through a divergent comparative design that compares the same immigrant group in different national contexts.

Taking advantage of the current historical momentum, the research focuses on Syrian refugees with the same starting position in Turkey, Germany, and the United States.