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Research at ICMPD

The objective of ICMPD’s research Unit is to further knowledge on migration related issues, to facilitate co-operation and synergy within and beyond the research community and to respond to an increased demand for a more policy relevant research. It has built up a reputation for research on international migration trends, patterns and policies in the wider European context based on comparative analysis. The programme is based on policy oriented, empirical research with an interdisciplinary and international approach.

Currently the ICMPD research team consists of a number of part and full time researchers working on a wide range of migration related topics, including labour migration, migration in the labour market, gender and migration, migration policy, and migration statistics. Associated and collaborating researchers complement the team.

A short history of R&D

Today's Research and Documentation Unit has been an integral part of ICMPD since it was founded in 1997 in the form of the Austrian Forum for Migration Research (ÖFM – Österreichisches Forum für Migrationsstudien), a three-year pilot project of ICMPD coordinated by Irene Stacher (Head of Research). Migration research in the Austrian context still represented a rather young discipline at the time, involving researchers from social, economic and political sciences, but also “practitioners” from NGOs and politics. The initial aim of ÖFM was to create a transdisciplinary research and documentation centre focusing on migration movements, their structural causes and social consequences.

Research at ÖFM in it's beginnings focused on migration in Austria and the EU, East-West migrations, South-North migrations, the Balkans and South-East Europe, as well as undocumented/ illegal migration.

In 1998 a library was established to compile the various migration-relevant literature and documents and make it available to migration researchers and other interest groups. The ICMPD library continues to be at core of the R&D unit today.


Main areas of research

The main areas of research are labour migration, discrimination and exclusion of migrants, migration statistics on a European level, as well as integration and migration policies. A special focus lies on research on irregular migration.


The Research Unit receives project grants from various institutions on the EU and national level, such as the European Commission, the Austrian Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF), the Austrian Ministry of Interior (BMI), the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, etc.


International cooperation and networks

ICMPD has a long track record in comparative research involving international collaboration with other research institutions, non-governmental institutions and international organizations, as well as individuals. In addition, ICMPD is a member of the IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe) Research Network (IMISCOE).  This network, involving 28 research institutes in Europe and some 300 researchers from these and other institutes, aims to integrate research on migration and integration on a European level and to disseminate research findings to the wider public, policy makers and NGOs.
read more about ICMPD's involvement in IMISCOE

Furthermore, ICMPD researchers regularly participate in the annual Metropolis conferences, which are the largest annual gathering of experts in the fields of migration and diversity. The International Metropolis Project aims at bringing together research, policy and practice on migration and diversity from North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. For over a decade, the project has aimed at enhancing academic research capacity, encouraging policy-relevant research on migration and diversity issues and facilitating the use of that research by governments and non-governmental organizations.