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Funding boost to understand drivers of global migration

Nov 11, 2011

The International Migration Institute (IMI) has been awarded a grant of nearly US$1million to advance research into the drivers and dynamics of high-skilled migration.
Funding boost to understand drivers of global migration

Postgraduate students at the Said Business School in Oxford

The grant, awarded by the New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will fund a three-year study that complements and enhances existing research at IMI on migration determinants. The goal is to improve understanding of the factors that drive high‐skilled migration and the role of policy in this type of migration. A key focus of the research will be on the drivers and dynamics of the mobility of students and academics within the global South and North, including increasing migration to developing countries. International surveys among students and longitudinal data analysis of migration flows will form an important part of the research activity.

Lead applicant Dr Hein de Haas, Co-Director of IMI and James Martin Fellow, said of the grant, ‘This is a tremendous opportunity for gaining new insights into high-skilled and student migration, a fast-growing form of migration affecting all countries around the globe. It is a testament to IMI’s ongoing success in raising funds for conducting cutting-edge research on international migration processes.’

High-skilled and student migration are among the fastest growing migration phenomena in the world, but we have little knowledge about the effectiveness of policies to attract the ‘best and brightest’. This is an important area of research that aims to help inform government policy.

The global character of IMI’s research was a compelling factor in garnering support from the Sloan Foundation, which has an interest in better understanding international markets for scientists and engineers.  ‘Each nation tends to be interested only in its own policies and to track only aggregate flows through its own borders’, said Sloan Program Director Daniel L. Goroff, ‘but an individual’s migration decision depends on conditions in both the sending and receiving countries.  The bilateral and longitudinal data that IMI will compile can therefore provide new insights about the determinants of high-skilled immigration.’

The International Migration Institute is a member of the Oxford Martin School, an interdisciplinary research initiative addressing global future challenges. IMI is committed to developing a long-term and forward-looking perspective on international migration, seeing migration as part of broader processes of global change and development.

The new grant will enable IMI to collect and make available to the public unique data, and to generate evidence-based research to the benefit of the global research and policy community.

Besides the Principal Investigator Dr Hein de Haas, key research staff includes IMI researchers Dr Mathias Czaika and Simona Vezzoli.


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The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.

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