Coventry University leads £20m global research hub aiming to harness benefits of South-South migration

Coventry University will lead a £20 million global research hub announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) today as part an ambitious new approach – funded through UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) – to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.


The UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub will see the university’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) 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 initiative is the biggest research project in the university’s history, and 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, the key routes of focus being: Nepal–Malaysia; China–Ghana; Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire; Ethiopia–South Africa; Haiti–Brazil; and Egypt–Jordan.


Professor Heaven Crawley, an expert in international migration at CTPSR, 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 Crawley said:

“Migration is often associated with unsafe journeys, exploitation and limited access to rights – particularly for young people, women and the poorest in society. While many people face difficulties moving between countries for protection, work and education, they also create a wealth of opportunities for developing regions by bringing knowledge, skills and resources as well as boosting local and regional labour markets.


“Our aim with this Hub is to explore how and where these opportunities can be harnessed, and how migration in the Global South can contribute to broader processes of social, economic and political change which benefit households, communities and countries and which reduce inequalities at the local, regional and global levels.


Vice-chancellor Professor John Latham of Coventry University said:

“It’s a testament to Coventry University’s global standing and research calibre that we’ve been selected to lead this major UKRI project. Our Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations’ reputation for expertise in the fields of migration and social relations in particular have become well-recognised around the world, with projects underway on many different continents which are improving dialogue between communities and strengthening human security.


“I look forward to seeing the impact and success of this project, alongside the many others being led and pioneered by our world-leading researchers.”


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.”


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