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Research Social platform On Migration and Asylum

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ReSOMA (Research Social platform On Migration and Asylum)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2020-03-31

What: ReSOMA aims at creating a platform for regular collaboration and exchange between Europe’s well-developed networks of migration researchers, stakeholders, and practitioners to foster evidence-based policy-making. Being a Coordination and Support Action (CSA), ReSOMA is meant to communicate directly with policymakers by providing ready-to-use evidence on policy, policy perceptions and policy options on migration, asylum and integration gathered among researchers, stakeholders, and practitioners
Why: Migration management has shown that EU policy-making on asylum and migration has understandably not been able to keep up with the rapidly changing migration dynamics and political dynamics in the MS. Policies towards immigrants are generally slow to change and path-dependent, except when a number of factors accelerate the pace of changes in policy and public opinion. In addition, coordination on asylum and migration policy at the EU level involves an increasing number of relatively new actors who still fail to interact through a fully synergic partnership.
Impact: it will foster sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships between researchers and stakeholders in order for them to consult and work more regularly with each other to inform EU public debates. This will ultimately enable policy-makers to access quick ready-to-use policy evidence on current policy issues while putting new priorities on the EU policy agenda on asylum, migration, and integration based on the collective evidence of researchers and stakeholders in the MS.
Objective 1: Sustainable and mutually beneficial collaboration between EU research and stakeholder networks. This need for collaboration has not been addressed systematically, despite the ongoing interest in this from researchers, stakeholders, and the European Commission. Researchers and stakeholders need to provide the best evidence and arguments to inform evidence-based policymaking. Stakeholders and policymakers need researchers to provide them with missing perspectives, knowledge, evidence, methods, and robust recommendations. Researchers and stakeholders are very well-integrated within their own communities at the EU and national level but are not well-networked with one another to collaborate systematically on evidence-based policymaking. Even researchers and stakeholders working on the same topic often do not know each other across the EU and, despite a clear willingness to cooperate, collaborations will not occur without a greater awareness and an explicit request.
Objective 2: Make the EU’s platforms for policy dialogue and consultation more evidence-based. In recent years the EC has offered several actors to provide their policy input such as public consultations, symposiums, and other thematic events. However, researchers and stakeholders are not sufficiently coordinated to provide their evidence through these tools and platforms. Public consultations and impact assessments have often been replaced with rapid and informal consultations of EU stakeholder networks and a similar trend has been observed at the national level with ad hoc consultations being increasingly preferred over permanent dialogue.
Objective 3: Raise new evidence-based top priorities for the EU’s policy agenda. Major unmet policy needs on the ground do not always make their way up onto the EU agenda. Researchers and stakeholders need to find the right arguments and allies helping them to find consensus. The EU can be relatively quick to respond to bottom-up demands, but in many other areas of EU migration policy bottom-up agenda-setting has become increasingly difficult as the crisis-management context has changed the scope for public consultation, the profile of decision-makers and the number of actors involved.
How: It is implemented through:
1) Setting the policy agenda by identifying the most pressing needs relating to migration, asylum, and integration
2) Outlining the most effective policy responses by pooling together stakeholders’ experience and scholarly evidence on experts with a view designing evidence-based policy options
3) Challenging perceived policy dilemmas & offering alternatives by questioning existing policy patterns in order to turn policy options into viable alternatives for policy-makers
4) Informing the political and public debate by communicating on the activities carried out and disseminating ReSOMA’s results to wider audiences
The creation of the Platform is the cornerstone of the project as it allows stakeholders and researchers to be consulted about these things through their membership to the Expert Database.
Over the past 26 months, ReSOMA led to the identification of 27 policy topics (9 in 2018, 9 in 2019, and 9 in 2020) through the intersection of the input given by think tanks and researchers, stakeholder platforms, and policy-makers. In particular, 18 top-down topics reacted to current EU developments while 9 bottom-up topics took stock of emerging needs at the grass-root level. As foreseen by the project, around 18 topics (2018 and 2019), partners have identified the issues at stake (WP1), collected the policy options available at EU and national level (WP2) and shed light on the rationales behind the adoption of specific options by policy-makers (WP3).
The collection of evidence could rely on a 1400-member-strong community gathered in the ReSOMA Expert Database that was engaged through online and offline consultations. The set-up of the Platform was a key tool in securing feedback from a wide array of target groups. The constant engagement of policy-makers provided a sound reality check and was ensured by periodically exchanging with the Advisory board and by organizing one Taskforce meeting.
The evidence collected has so far fed into 37 publications in Y1 and 49 publications in Y2 that helped partners making the case for specific pathways to policy reform.
Thanks to the strong ties built during the project life with the IMISCOE academic network and with the sister H2020 project Cross-Migration, the ReSOMA Platform will be maintained in the IMISCOE web infrastructure to keep on supporting the dialogue among policymakers, scholars, and civil society stakeholders beyond the end of the project.
ReSOMA is not a Research & Innovation Action (RIA) but a Coordination & Support Action (CSA). As such, between M1 and M18 ReSOMA, it has fostered new forms of interactions between key actors working in the field of asylum, migration and integration policies. From the very beginning of the project implementation, partners became aware there was a great potential for collaboration yet some structural limitations. While researchers showed great interest in getting access to and making use of stakeholders’ evidence, stakeholders acted within other parallel networks characterized by a structured exchange with policy-makers but few contacts with researchers. ReSOMA has devised an approach that provides these two groups with an unprecedented opportunity to have a structured exchange and produce joint evidence-based outputs. This successful approach has already sparked interests among the research community, with the IMISCOE network integrating ReSOMA in its infrastructure to support its future sustainability.
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