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Five questions about the research programme Citizenship, Migration and Global Transformations

The research teams have been set up, collaborations have been initiated, projects kicked off, the first start-up grants have been received and the websites are up and running. The Citizenship, Migration and Global Transformations programme, which consists of the two pillars Social Citizenship and Migration and Global Transformations and Governance Challenges, is beginning to take shape. Time for a closer look at the programme via coordinators Olaf van Vliet and Antonaeta Dimitrova.

What does the incentive programme entail?

Olaf van Vliet: 'In the Social Citizenship and Migration programme, we investigate how developments in the field of immigration and social citizenship offer challenges and opportunities for the governance of societies. Various issues related to citizenship (e.g. housing, social conflicts over ideologies, exercising rights) have become more complex as a result of recent developments in immigration. These issues have, of course, been studied before, but not sufficiently in conjunction and not from different, integrated perspectives. Major social issues concerning citizenship and migration require an interdisciplinary approach. In this programme, researchers from various disciplines work together: public administration, economics, law, history and anthropology. 

Antoaneta Dimitrova: 'Global Transformations and Governance Challenges (GTGC) is one of the many areas where Leiden University provides impulses for further research to consortia of scientists from the university who are working on a theme. In our case, with colleagues Isabelle Duyvensteyn and Daniël Thomas, we were interested in the challenges that global changes such as trade and globalisation, the spread of information with information technologies, climate change, to name but a few, pose to democracy, to citizens and to governance. Simply put, how do we overcome the problems for collective action and govern the world in a way that involves citizens, strengthens rather than weakens democracy and develops global governance in a sustainable way?'

What is the purpose of the programme?

Van Vliet: 'To develop innovative thematic and methodological approaches in the field of citizenship and migration. We aim to achieve new scientific insights with which we can make socially relevant contributions to policymakers. We will do this by further developing the network of researchers working in this field. We will cooperate on research and join forces to set up new research projects. Furthermore, the incentive programmes for our programme offer a wonderful opportunity to further strengthen the ties with our colleagues from the Global Transformations and Governance Challenges programme.

Dimitrova: 'The aim of the programme is to develop research in this area that connects different scholars from the university's institutes and faculties, to create new networks and collaborative practices, and to develop the conversation with international scholars on these important issues. Ultimately, we want to contribute to the scientific and policy debate and move the global conversation forward.'

What is your role as coordinators?

Van Vliet: 'My role is to bring together the different components and researchers in the programme. By establishing new collaborations between different disciplines, we strive to create innovative insights. I also conduct research myself and supervise PhD students who are working on their doctoral thesis in various fields of Social Citizenship and Migration. It is also important to coordinate our activities with the activities of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre Governance of Migration and Diversity.  

Dimitrova: 'For me the same applies: finding connections within the university and the other teams and since we have Jan Aart Scholte as GTGC professor supporting him in putting together the different aspects of our research cooperation so that the GTGC area grows and develops.

The programme has been running for a while now, how is it going?

Van Vliet: 'We have built up a sizeable team of researchers and we are working hard on innovative and interesting research. The first seminars have been held, the first studies have been presented and the first research proposals have been developed.

Dimitrova: 'After a year, our group has been greatly strengthened by the arrival of GTGC professor Jan Aart Scholte and the GTGC team, which consists of a number of young scientists. Together with the networks that have already formed across the faculties around important themes, the research area is definitely developing. There are many new ideas and projects, and the first start-up grants have also been awarded.'

 What are the goals for the coming period? 

Van Vliet: 'Now that the research has largely been set up, we are cautiously entering the phase in which we can collect the first research results. We will then publish them in scientific journals. In addition, we will focus on creating impact. For example, we will provide policy advice, in which we will also involve civil society.

Dimitrova: 'In the coming years and months, we hope to plan a real live conference, start new research projects and continue working on these themes. Given that we are busy with Global Transformations, there is certainly plenty to do in the future!'


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