Migration and integration

Since November 2017 different research projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have been working on the question of what long-term effects migration will have on our society.

Hände fassen gemeinsam einen Globus an; Adobe Stock / Joachim Wendler


Adobe Stock / Joachim Wendler

This research also ties in with the historical development of and the history of change in societies through migration, as has been intensively researched, for example, at the interdisciplinary and interfaculty research center of the University of Osnabrück, the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) since the early 1990s.
The approximately 50 projects, funded as part of the "Migration and Social Change" funding measure, address questions about integration and focus particularly on cultural and institutional changes in society as a whole. For example, the influence of migration on educational models or on Germany's commemorative culture is being examined.
Migration processes also influence the structure of institutions and bodies in Germany. The spectrum of institutions to be investigated ranges from the police to schools and health care to cultural institutions. For example, changes in organisational structures or best practice examples for an intercultural opening are identified.


Migration is leading to more people with different languages, religions and values living together in our society. On the one hand, this change is seen in German society as a potential for further development; on the other hand, migration can lead to uncertainty. In this discussion, the central question is what actually holds a society together at its core? In the public debate on integration, the focus is usually on the aspects of competence (e.g., language), acceptance of norms and integration into institutions. However, integration takes place much more directly and immediately through interpersonal behavior based on values and feelings, support or insecurity. This is especially true for those affected by flight and displacement who have had traumatizing experiences.
The social models for parenthood and upbringing have changed considerably in recent decades. At the same time, there has been a growing heterogeneity of families, to which earlier and new migration movements have also contributed.

The integration of the numerous children and young people who have fled to Germany in recent years has set the German education system in motion. The focus is on the role of school cultures and their institutional conditions. These shape the integration of children and young people with refugee experience, but conversely are also influenced by the reception of the children.

Research on forced Migration and Refugee Studies

The cooperation project “Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer” (FFVT) aims to strengthen interdisciplinary forced migration and refugee research in Germany. To this end, the project brings together research on migration, development, conflict and violence, climate change, health, governance and human rights and other topics. In this way, FFVT supports the networking of researchers and institutes working in all relevant research fields dealing with forced migration. To provide young academics with teaching and training opportunities in forced migration and refugee studies, it plans to establish study and graduate programmes. Furthermore, FFVT plans to promote the internationalisation of German research activities further and, therefore, offers a global fellowship programme, among other things. The dialogue between academia, practitioners, the media and politicians is another key element of its work. FFVT is to contribute to establishing a sustainable infrastructure for research on forced migration and refugee studies in Germany to facilitate excellent academic work in this field.