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Migration, Integration and Governance Research Centre

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MIGREC (Migration, Integration and Governance Research Centre)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-12-31

The MIGREC Project aims to build internationally-leading scientific research capacity in Migration Studies at the Faculty of Political Science (FPN) at the University of Belgrade (UoB), ensuring that the UoB scholars from the Faculty of Political Science (FPN) and the Faculty of Geography (GEF) can contribute effectively to the research, policy and practical challenges arising from multiple and intersecting changes confronting currently Serbia, but also the whole of the European Union.

It is based on the idea of creating a 3-year training programme, which will function on two levels, a horizontal and a vertical. On the horizontal level, the MIGREC Project will enhance the already existing research capacity of the UoB scholars by upgrading migration related research excellence and impact through introducing training on new high-calibre methodologies and theoretical approaches, publishing in international academic journals, attending international conferences, regional and international networking, mentoring, participating in externally funded research, public engagement and producing policy related and policy informing academic research. On the vertical level, the Project MIGREC will bring together all the dispersed scientific knowledge under the umbrella of a multidisciplinary, cross-departmental Migration, Integration and Governance Research Centre (MIGREC), under the leadership of the FPN. The centre will work as an integrative focal point of Migration Studies at the University of Belgrade as well as an incubator and accelerator of related academic research through the advancement of research synergies and the creation of a PhD programme. It will provide training, mentoring and coordination in relation to materialising the Project’s aims and ensuring the long-term sustainability of its impact.

The Centre will be directly linked with Serbia’s migration challenges corresponding to wider Western Balkan and European geopolitical issues. Its core focus will be on three thematic areas: migrant integration, the migration-development nexus and migration governance.

The overall objectives of the MIGREC Project are as follows:

1. Elaborating on the Centre’s research advancements needs.

2. Establishing the Centre’s research excellence structures and support mechanisms.

3. Securing the Centre’s Scientific Excellence by building capacity in migration-related research.

4. Developing the Centre’s staff transferable skills and coordinating Policy/NGO Co-operation.

5. Increasing awareness and involvement of all stakeholders (e.g. policy-makers, NGOs, public and representatives of Western-Balkan region) of the Centre’s activities, through dissemination, exploitation and ensuring its long-term sustainability.
The Project objectives are operationalized in three phases (i.e. elaboration, realization, communication and sustainability), through 23 measurable outcomes and through seven overlapping and inter-connected Work Packages (WPs).

WP1 resulted in three deliverables as planned. In the forms of critical appraisal, detailed assessment and comprehensive mapping, their findings are concentrated on: identification and specification of research challenges and opportunities in migration and migration related fields at UoB; evaluation of Serbia’s migration-related eco-system; and identification of prospective regional networks in the wider Western Balkan region. WP1 contributes directly to Project objectives 1 and 2.

WP2 yielded a state of the art document on the Centre’s mission, vision, strategy, research agenda and action plan. The activities on setting the organizational and administrative structures of the Centre and designing a PhD programme in Migration are under way as planned. WP2 contributes directly to Project objective 2.

WP3 consisted of the organization of a workshop on migrant integration as well as of support to participation of members of the Coordinating institution at relevant international conferences. The principles, content and processes around summer schools, study visits, exchange scheme, placement scheme, networking visits to the countries of the Western Balkans and remaining workshops have been or are being agreed. WP3 is most closely related to WP 4 and contributes directly to Project objectives 3 and 4.

WP4 delivered the first seminar on social sciences research and methodology. The seminar on publishing in high impact international journals and training workshops in applying for external research funding have been or are being scheduled and agreed. WP4 contributes directly to Project objectives 3 and 4.

WP5 generated an updated Dissemination and communication plan, including promotion materials and list of significant events as planned with all disseminating activities on-going as planned. This includes strong presence of the Project in social media, an updated Project website and enables the networking and connecting with relevant stakeholders. WP5 contributes directly to Project objective 5.

The remaining two WPs, WP6 and WP7 have been under way as planned, enabling smooth and ethical operation of the Project.

Two milestones (MS) were achieved, the establishment of a competent Advisory Board composed of six renowned professionals in the field of migration (MS1) and the delivery of the Centre’s mission, vision, strategy, research agenda and action plan (MS2).

Therefore, all envisaged Project activities have been developing and are under way with certain adaptations caused by restrictions in international and domestic travels due to COVID-19 pandemic. So far, 6 deliverables and 2 milestones were submitted to the SyGMa portal, details whereof presented in respective tables of this document.

The major results achieved by each WP are detailed in the Technical Part B.
Migration presents one of the most challenging developments for Serbia but the capacities for its research have been under-developed. This results in the absence of evidence-based policy and policy failures and in difficulties in Serbia’s progress towards EU membership. The Project gathers a group of national scholars to equip them with the state-of-the-art knowledge and skills relevant for the field. Along with the inclusion of scholars from the FPN of the UoB as provided by the Project, scholars from the GEF of the UoB joined the Project too. On top of enabling members of the Coordinating institution to gain in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field, it is expected that they will be equipped for scouting for funding opportunities at the European wide competitive projects. The Project also establishes and strengthens the collaboration of the Coordinating institution with researchers from the Western Balkans region and Europe at large, and with practitioners and policy makers, enhancing thus the synergy of all of the actions. Based on that, it aims at establishing a Research Centre, that will be the only of its kind in Serbia and that will be open to all scholars having research interest in migration. Three thematic areas of the Centre which were envisaged in the Project proposal, were widened by the Project team with two additional topics of interest: theories and methods in migration studies and knowledge, debates and representations in the migration related fields. Finally, the Project aims at designing and accrediting a PhD programme in Migration that will be again the only of its kind, not only in Serbia, but in the region of the Western Balkans.
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