Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - TIES (The Integration of the Second Generation)

Initiated in October 2006, the TIES RTN is an original structure combining a network of research institutes and Universities in 11 European countries and Turkey, joined together to conduct and analyse a cutting edge survey on the European Second Generation of migrants. Research on the second generation of post-war immigrants is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the past decades it has become a key element in studies on integration; and researchers as well as policy makers seek to get more insight on its specific problematic. Responding to this growing interest and need from local and international scientists and politicians, TIES was initiated in 2003 and the fieldwork was implemented between 2006 and 2007 after several years of preparation. A massive international dataset counting approximately 10.000 respondents has been collected, studying through common questionnaires the integration of Moroccan, Turkish and ex-Yugoslavian second generation youth in fifteen cities in eight countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland).

The project produced an invaluable resource for many social science researchers, meant to bring a new important theoretical understanding of the sheer concept of integration. The data set included the multidisciplinary aspect of integration research, taking into account such topics as religion, identity, discrimination, union formation, labour market, education etc. It was also the first data set to make a truly international comparison possible.

The Marie Curie Research Training Network that emanated from this project allowed fourteen young researchers to be hired for three years (ESRs) and two years (ERs) to collaborate with the research teams analysing the data. They had the chance to be included in an international network of first-class researchers in their field and to be mentored by them all along the many tasks of cleaning and harmonising the data, weighing variables, analysing and of course of publishing the results. The inclusion of the students in the collaborative research project was the first framework of their training. As such they were familiarised with cutting-edge methodological and conceptual approaches in migration and ethnic studies, and especially with the very innovative research design of the TIES data which allows the testing of the position of the same ethnic group with the same starting position across countries.

The ambition of the senior researchers who designed the study was also to integrate the different findings and theoretical conceptions on integration, particularly the segmented assimilation theory which is developed in the United States. This framework is ideal to show that scientific collaboration across countries and discipline is necessary for excellence research, by contributing to overcome institutional and disciplinary boundaries. The TIES survey is now a major reference in integration studies, in Europe and in the US. Replications of the survey have been done in Estonia and in Australia. The network is thus growing and reaches the transcontinental level.

In the end, the TIES RTN served its objectives as it succeeded to expand the network of researchers collaborating on the TIES datasets to young researchers who could be trained by being included in an excellent collaborative research project. Contacts were created between the young researchers and with the seniors that will last long after the end of the European Commission funding. The young researchers have been trained to become first class in the field of integration and comparative analysis. They grew acquainted with cutting edge methods of data analysis, publication and presentation of results, and start off their career already well integrated in their research community.

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