University to play key role in £20m global research hub

The University of Glasgow is set to play a key role in a £20 million global research hub - funded through UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) today (Tuesday, 22 January) as part of an ambitious new approach to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub will see the University of Glasgow join forces with universities and organisations from across the world to explore how the movement of people in the Global South is affecting inequality and development in less developed regions.

The Hub will be led by Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR). The initiative is thought to be the largest study into global migration undertaken anywhere in the world.

Over the next five years, the Hub will work with governments, international agencies, partners and NGOs on the ground in these countries and around the globe to maximise the benefits of South-South migration for development - and to investigate how it contributes to the delivery of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as ending poverty and reducing inequality.

South-South migration is estimated to account for nearly half of all international migration (up to 70% in some places), but its potential benefits have been undermined by limited and unequal access to rights and to the economic and social opportunities that migration can bring.

The Hub will explore South-South migration in six global "corridors" linking origin and destination countries, focusing in particular on the following routes: Nepal-Malaysia; China-Ghana; Burkina Faso-Cote D’Ivoire; Ethiopia-South Africa; Haiti-Brazil; and Egypt-Jordan.

Professor Heaven Crawley, an expert in international migration at Coventry University, will lead the Hub’s network of partners which includes:

  • 20 leading universities, as well as the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), PositiveNegatives, Samuel Hall and @iLabAfrica;
  • Six international organisations - the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Research Institute For Social Development (UNRISD); and
  • Numerous local organisations in the 12 countries in which the hub will work: Burkina Faso, Brazil, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Jordan, Malaysia, Nepal and South Africa.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI champion for international and executive chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), said: “The sheer scale and ambition of these Hubs is what makes them so exciting. They enable us to deliver a coordinated global response with UK researchers working in partnership with researchers, governments, NGOs, community groups and international agencies across developing countries. Each Hub has the potential to transform the quality of life for multitudes throughout the world and safeguard our planet for future generations.”

Professor Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at University of Glasgow, and Co-Investigator of the UKRI SSMID Hub said: “Our team is thrilled and honored to be part of this ground-breaking project exploring the challenges associated with migration in the Global South. Our team has considerable experience in this area from previous UKRI-funded projects. We will work with local artists and new partners using arts-based, practice-led approaches which seek to build equitable partnerships and to intervene in and expand social-scientific and scientific frames of reference for research into migration and inequality. Not only will this Hub help to build new and valuable partnerships in countries where migration and development are closely connected, it will also enable these countries to bring their own perspectives, knowledge and capabilities to the table to support future migration policy development.”

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