SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar awarded 3 million Euro Horizon 2020 grant for project to shift perception of migration

8 January 2019

Peter Mollinga, Professor of Development Studies at SOAS University of London has been awarded an EU H2020 Societal Challenges award of nearly 3 million Euro for a project in understanding the relation between migration and agricultural and rural change. The project was jointly designed and will be co-led by SOAS, University of Birmingham and the International Water Management Institute.

The project, “‘Leaving something behind’ - Migration governance and agricultural & rural change in ‘home’ communities: comparative experience from Europe, Asia and Africa” seeks to shift policy makers’ focus of migration from being considered a ‘problem’ to being an inherent feature of the development process.

The project will look at 19 sites in seven countries: Morocco, Ethiopia, Moldova, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Thailand and China with country teams based at each site. It will identify the economic, institutional, cultural and agro-ecological factors which shape the two sided interaction between migration, and agricultural and rural change on the other, with ‘gender’ and ‘knowledge’ as two main foci.  The project also examines which governance interventions, in which contexts, can harness migration to stimulate sustainable and gender equitable growth in agriculture, and reduce the distress associated with the migration process.

The unprecedented levels of migration in today’s globalised economy are shaping the social, economic and political fabric of both sending and receiving countries like never before – and the process of governing this transformation remains one of the most challenging policy issues of our times.

The project’s aim to seeing migration as being an inherent feature of the development process applies in particular to labour migration, which makes up the vast majority of human movement both across and within national borders. This research proposes a shift in the focus of migration governance to reflect this reality, to turn labour migration into a positive opportunity which can harness the synergies between human mobility and development.

The project will be jointly led by SOAS, University of Birmingham and the International Water Management Institute with Professor Mollinga  and SOAS as the formal co-ordinator. Partner institutions include:, University of Vienna, University of Central Asia/Mountain Societies Research Institute, National Institute for Economic Research Republic of Moldova, Universitat di Bologna, University Mohammed V Rabat, Social Science Baha/Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility, Raks Thai Foundation, OSCE Academy Bishkek,  Arba Minch University, Mekelle University/Institute of Population Studies and Center Polis Asia. Subcontracting partner institutions are Haramaya University and South China Agricultural University.

The grant is for 2,999,755.25 EUR and the project will begin in February 2019.