Centre Overview

The Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS) is a Research Centre within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford. Over the last two decades COMPAS has established an international reputation for original research and policy relevance. It has undertaken a strategic programme of multi-disciplinary social scientific research, publication and dissemination, events, knowledge transfer and user engagement activities with a broad set of academic and non-academic users in the UK and abroad.

COMPAS research covers a spectrum of global migration processes and phenomena, from conditions in places of migrant origins, through to institutions and activities affecting mobility, to social and economic effects in receiving contexts. In particular, COMPAS has developed expertise in relation to migration and the labour market, and migration and urban change.

Under the Directorship of Associate Professor Carlos Vargas-Silva, COMPAS currently has over 20 research staff from a range of social science backgrounds and is actively involved in many national, European and international networks and projects. COMPAS is based within the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and maintains strong links with departments across the University of Oxford within the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions.

COMPAS’ mission and aims

The mission of COMPAS is to conduct high quality research in order to develop theory and knowledge, inform policy-making and public debate, and engage users of research within the field of migration.

In line with this overall mission statement our aims are:

  • Academic advancement: contributing significant new empirical data; reflecting and advancing theory, methods and multi-disciplinary understanding in the field of migration studies; and building capacity among researchers and practitioners.
  • Informing policy-making and public debate: providing evidence and analysis to policy-makers and to the wider public that will inform policy-making and public debate.
  • Engaging with research users: establishing reciprocal relationships with individuals and organisations with experience of migration, including migrants and their organisations, government, business, international organisations, and third sector and civil society organisations.
  • Achieving long-term sustainability: establishing a reputation for high quality delivery of service, operating efficiently as a centre and ensuring a diversified funding base that will allow a long term future for the centre.

For more information on COMPAS’ work since 2003 and future research priorities please read The COMPAS Approach.