Dr Majella Kilkey, Professor Louise Ryan and Dr Aneta Piekut attended the MIGREC – Migration, Integration and Governance Research Centre – kick-off meeting in Belgrade on 21-22 October 2019.
Funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, MIGREC, which is co-ordinated by the University of Belgrade, focuses over a three-year period on developing research capacity among migration scholars at the University of Belgrade in order to contribute to deepening understanding of the migration-related challenges currently confronting Serbia and the wider Western Balkan region.
The Migration Research Group (MRG) at the University of Sheffield are partners on the project. Ryan Powell is the fourth member of the MRG team. The other partners are The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Greece and The South East European Research Centre, Greece.
MIGREC is the first Social Sciences project ever in H2020 to be co-ordinated by a Serbian institution, and as such represents a significant success and opportunity for UoB, the oldest and largest university in Serbia, as well as a regional higher-education leader.
Following a welcome from Dragan R. Simić – the Dean of FPN – Dr Natalija Perišić, Associate Professor in Social Policy and MIGREC co-ordinator, outlined the three specific challenges MIGREC will focus on: migration and integration, migration and development nexus and migration governance.
Over the course of the two days, researchers from MIGREC consortium worked to make concrete plans for putting into operation the programme of training, networking and mentoring to be undertaken, as well as the legacy planning in the form of the creation of a Doctoral Studies Program in migration and the establishment of the Research Centre on Migration, Integration and Governance.
Dr Perišić was joined at the kick-off meeting by around 10 colleagues from UoB spanning the fields of Political Science, Journalism and Communication Studies, International Relations, Social Policy and Social Work and Geography. They included PhD students, early career researchers, as well as senior academics.
This group of UoB researchers gave a series of presentations on their current writing and research projects. The presentations revealed a rich body of work ongoing at UoB, including relating to: the integration of the refugees who arrived in Serbia in the 1990s following the dissolution of former Yugoslavia and the wars that ensued (Danica Šantić and Natalija Perišić); recent asylum seekers’ perspectives on integration in the Balkans (Stefan Surlić); migration and human rights in Serbia (Dejan Pavlović); the relationship between immigration and welfare state solidarity (Biljana Đorđević); media framing of migrants and refugees in Serbia (Ana Milojevic, Aleksandra Krstic and Kristina Milic); high-skilled emigration from Serbia (Dragana Stoeckel); research with migrant children using co-production methods (Natalija Perišić, Nevenka Žegarac and Violeta Marković); and rural-urban migration in Serbia and its development impacts (Danica Šantić and Marija Antić).
The kick-off meeting ended by confirming the dates for the many exciting activities planned for Year 1 of the project. These include a workshop on Migration and Integration on 7th & 8th April 2020 and a Summer School week of 15th June 2020, both to be held in Belgrade.
Dr Majella Kilkey on behalf of the MIGREC team