Modern Poland: Migration and Transformations

The ‘Modern Poland’ project brings together leading scholars from the Migration Research Group at the University of Sheffield and the Centre for Migration Research at the University of Warsaw.  The project is funded by the Noble Foundation’s Programme on Modern Poland ( It runs from October 2017 to September 2019.

The project uses the lens of migration to examine key dynamics in modern Polish society and uses the transnational field to explore the interconnections between Poland and Britain. The unfolding consequences of Brexit form an important backdrop to the project.

The large numbers of Polish people living in the UK link these two societies together in many important ways. This project explores how the exchange of ideas and values, cultural practices, family relationships, caring strategies and obligations, economic and social remittances, visits and plans to return, impact both on the UK and Polish society.

The project has four main objectives:

  1. To develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the complexity and dynamics of modern Polish society, through the lens of migration, especially among academics and the wider local communities in the North of England.
  2. To provide training to PhD students in both Poland and the UK so they can share ideas, learn new skills and access new bodies of knowledge and understanding.
  3. To foster greater cooperation between leading Polish and UK scholars through building up a new, active network between the Centre for Migration Research in Warsaw and the Migration Research Group in Sheffield.
  4. To generate new knowledge and analysis through developing an edited book, and a special issue of the Central and Eastern European Migration Review.

As part of this project, we will host a Programme of Public Lectures and Master Classes in Sheffield and Warsaw.

This project will also host a one-week Summer School in September 2018 for PhD students in collaboration with the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Finally, an International Conference will be held at the University of Sheffield in Spring 2019 which will bring together leading scholars from Poland, the UK and elsewhere to present cutting edge research on migration and its impact on various aspects of modern Polish society. PhD students and early career researchers will be especially encouraged to participate and present their work. The best papers from the conference will be invited to be part of an edited book.

Professor Louise Ryan, Dr. Majella Kilkey and Dr. Aneta Piekut lead the Sheffield team.


 How can loneliness and social isolation be reduced among migrant and minority ethnic people? Systematic, participatory review of programme theories, system processes and outcomes

This is a UK National Institute for Health Research funded research project led by Professor Sarah Salway from the Migration Research Group and the Health Equity and Inclusion Group at the University of Sheffield. The project involves a collaboration between scholars based at the University of Sheffield, De Montfort University and Brunel University. It runs from October 2017 – March 2019.

Loneliness and social isolation are recognised as major public health issues, with migrants and minority ethnic people facing some particular risks. The main aim of this project is to summarise the existing evidence on the causes of, and potential solutions to, unwanted social isolation and loneliness among people from migrant and minority ethnic backgrounds. The project takes a holistic, systems approach whereby social isolation and loneliness are seen as the products of the complex social settings within which people live. It combines a desk-based literature review with use of a participatory approach via three public Consultation Panels that will meet twice (in Sheffield, Leicester and London) to reflect on, challenge and refine the emerging findings.


Care ‘in’ and ‘out of’ place: towards sustainable well-being in mobile and diverse contexts

Care ‘in’ and ‘out of’ place: towards sustainable well-being in mobile and diverse contexts is a Work Package being led by Majella Kilkey and Louise Ryan as part of the ESRC-funded programme of research (2017-2021) – Sustainable Care: Connecting People and Systems (PI = Sue Yeandle). The Sustainable Care programme is set within an extensive international research network spanning 26 institutions in 15 countries. Its overarching objective is to use interdisciplinary research to advance understanding of sources of economic and social sustainability in care, especially how wellbeing outcomes can be achieved for care users, their families, carers and paid care workers.

The Work Package led by Kilkey and Ryan, with support from Magdolna Lőrinc (RA) and Obert Tawodzera (PhD student), and Kelly Hall (University of Birmingham), starts from the premise that migration and mobility are transforming UK caring contexts. The care needs of those implicated in relationships between migration and ageing raise particular challenges for sustainable care and wellbeing, including in the context of Brexit, in terms of cultural and linguistic sensitivities, migration rights, portability of entitlements, networks of support and access to communication technologies. The Work Package will explore such issues in relation to three groups: ageing migrants in UK; British retirement migrants in Spain and migrant care workers in UK.

For more information, please click here.


Brexit, trade, migration and higher education

Dr Vassiliki Papatsiba is researching the likely consequences of Brexit as perceived in UK higher education institutions. She is Co-Investigator in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research project ‘Brexit, trade, migration and higher education’ (June 2017- November 2018).

The aim of the research project is to investigate senior managers’ and academics’ perceptions of the key implications of Brexit for their higher education institution (HEI), and how these institutions are responding to the current challenges and/or opportunities. The challenges include research funding and capacity, attracting and retaining EU staff, international student recruitment, financial management and sustainability, strategy and institutional decision-making in a difficult, unpredictable and fast-changing policy environment. This research is also examining the steps taken in institutions to monitor the policy environment, manage planning and data analysis, enhance the capacity to make and implement quick decisions, develop new lines of activity beyond Europe, and cope with the high uncertainty and multiple possibilities. The research project is part of the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe initiative , which emphasises policy impact throughout the duration of the research. The Principal Investigator of the project is Professor Simon Marginson from the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), based at UCL Institute of Education.



Dr Bríd Ní Ghráinne has been appointed as an Expert Member of the Council of Europe HELP (Higher Education for Legal Professionals) Working Group on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Dr Ní Ghráinne is developing an online training course for the implementation of the international rights of IDPs at national level, together with the Council of Europe and the Working Group’s three other Expert Members – Dr Costas Paraskeva, Professor Elizabeth Ferris, and Kim Mancini-Beck. This course is being developed with the support of the Council of Europe project ‘Strengthening the Human Rights Protection of Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine.’ The course aims to raise awareness of the international and Council of Europe protection standards relating to IDPs, and show how these standards can be invoked. The course is primarily aimed at judges and legal professionals but will also be of interest to civil servants, students, IDPs themselves, and the general public. The course will be interactive, available online in English, free to all, and will be translated into various languages. It will also be adapted at a national level in Ukraine – and possibly elsewhere – and will be taught by the help of national tutors. As part of this project, Bríd participated as an International Expert at the Roundtable ‘Protection of the rights of internally displaced persons: Council of Europe standards and national challenges’ in Kharkiv, Ukraine on 6 October 2017. Details of the event are available here.

The MIGRATE Project

The MIGRATE Jean Monnet project aims to create a trans-European forum for debate and dialogue and build a network of researchers, with expertise in EU Integration, Western Balkans Integration, Migration, Political Economy, Sociology, Law, Politics and Economics. MIGRATE project

The project focuses on EU integration processes through investigating the impact of the on-going post-2014 migrant crisis on these processes as a trigger-event of instability and transformation.

The project began in September 2016 and is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, The University of Belgrade, The South-East European Research Centre, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, The Centre for Southeast European Studies, The Navarino Network, Konrad Adenauer Stifting, Biklent University, and Central European University. Dr. Majella Kilkey leads the Sheffield team’s work on the impact of the ‘crisis’ on European integration. Dr. Francesca Strumia also works on the project.

For more information, please click here.

 Prospects for International Migration Governance (MIGPROSP)MIGRPROSP_logo(large-use)

Prospects for International Migration Governance (MIGPROSP) is a five-year European Research Council-funded research project that analyses the drivers of migration governance. The project is led by Professor Andrew Geddes, based at the European University Institute. Part of the MIGPROSP team is based at the Department of Politics, in The University of Sheffield: Dr Marcia A. Vera Espinoza is a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Laura Foley, Michaela Bruckmayer, Luca Lixi and Andrea Pettrachin are doctoral researchers.

The project’s focus is on how ‘actors’ within migration governance systems understand international migration – its causes and effects and key risks and uncertainties – and how these understandings then shape or affect institutional responses now and in the future. By knowing more about these understandings the MIGPROSP project aims to develop our insight into the drivers of migration governance.


More information at | @migprosp


Urban Transformations: Urban Development, Migration, Segregation and Inequality

Urban Transformations: Urban Development, Migration, Segregation and Inequality is a collaborative project which aims to bring together researchers from the University of Glasgow, University of Sheffield and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, to develop new ideas, innovative methods and analysis on the impacts of migration on urban development, the related social-spatial segregation and public policy challenges. Yaping Wang at the University of Glasgow is the Principal Investigator. Gwilym Pryce and Yu Chen at Sheffield are Co-Investigators. The project runs from September 2015 to August 2018, and is funded by the ESRC.

Through this project, we organise workshops/conferences on themes related to migration and segregation in both Beijing and the UK. A conference and a summer school on urban segregation were held in Sheffield in 2017. There will be a workshop on migration and integration in Beijing and a final conference on China’s urban development in Glasgow in 2018.



Aneta Piekut coordinates one of IMISCOE Research Groups – ‘Diversity, Migration and Social Cohesion‘ which is a research cluster within IMISCOE – the largest European network of institutions and individuals studying migration. It members study the relationship between actual and perceived ethnic diversity and social cohesion outcomes (trust, cooperation, attitudes) at various spatial scales: the neighbourhood, regions and countries. Updates are published on the cluster’s blog:




Asylum. Welfare. Work.

This three year research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is being undertaken by Dr. Lucy Mayblin at the University of Sheffield. The research is all about asylum seekers’ rights to take paid employment, with a focus on the UK context.

For more information, please click here.



Challenges in Researching the Shadow Economy

Lead Researcher: Dr. Genevieve LeBaron, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics

Forced labour, human trafficking and slavery are widely believed to be rapidly proliferating in the global economy. There is however, no reliable global estimate of slavery or trafficking, nor a sound methodology for measuring prevalence of severe labour exploitation. Given the risks associated with researching the shadow economy, few scholars and organizations have even attempted to collect hard data. Reliable estimates and data are necessary for future research on forced labour. This programme will provide a vehicle for an interdisciplinary group of expert scholars to tackle this problem.

Funded by the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences



Understanding and Governing Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains

Lead Researcher: Dr. Genevieve LeBaron, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics

The overall aim of this research is to achieve an in-depth understanding of how forced labour (and overlapping practices like slavery and human trafficking) operate in global supply chains. Key questions include: What factors create ‘demand’ for forced labour within supply chains? What are the pathways that allow forced labour access to formal industry? How effective are recent public and private governance initiatives to combat forced labour, especially in the sub-tiers of global production? These questions will be investigated through a range of qualitative methods including elite interviews with key informants and ethnographic field research among workers themselves. Supply chain analysis will be used to understand the firm-to-firm dynamics of forced labour along the supply chain (raw material, component, manufacture, distribution and retail). Project partners include Yale University, the International Labour Organization, UK House of Commons, Impactt Ltd, and

Funded by UK Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders Grant.



Identifying Promising Innovations to Enhance Equity and Efficiency in Care for New Migrant Populations

This research project is being undertaken by Liz Such, Liz Walton, Sarah Salway, Janet Harris and Brigette Colwell from the Health Equity and Inclusion Group at the University of Sheffield. It is funded by Sheffield CCG and aims to 1) undertake a mapping and formative evaluation of innovative practice at the primary care-community interface related to meeting the needs of new migrant populations, 2) identify a promising package of innovation that warrants further refinement and testing and 3) develop research capacity among primary care colleagues and strengthen research-practice linkages to support knowledge translation.

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