COMPAS Director's Welcome to the new academic year

Published 17 October 2019 / By COMPAS Communications

Back to Articles

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to another academic year at COMPAS. There are several exciting news and events to highlight as we start the new academic year.

First, Professor Michael Keith, who has led COMPAS for over a decade, has stepped down from his position of Director. Michael has transformed COMPAS during his time as Director by developing several graduate programmes in migration, launching major policy and knowledge exchange initiatives and obtaining over £20 million in research funding. We are all immensely grateful to Michael for his hard work during all these years. The good news is that Michael will remain a member of the COMPAS staff, where he will be devoting time to research, DPhil advising, and the successful completion of his large PEAK Urban project , the ESRC Urban Transformations Programme and the Oxford Future Cities Network.

I have taken the role of COMPAS Director starting this academic year. I am looking forward to working with all of you to ensure that COMPAS maintains its global standing as a leading interdisciplinary centre for the study of migration.

This academic year also marks the official start of our new DPhil in Migration Studies. We are welcoming five new doctoral students who will be exploring very interesting aspects of the migration process including refugee entrepreneurship in Turkey, the role of family ties and configurations in the migratory process in the UK, the role of the informal sector in facilitating refugee integration in Turkey and the Middle East, changing urban migratory patterns in China, and regional development of ethnic minority regions in China. We are very much looking forward to hearing more about their work and seeing them progress with their research ideas, as they become leading scholars in the field. Please make time to come and say hi, introduce yourselves and make them feel welcome.

We are also welcoming another large cohort of students to our popular MSc in Migration Studies. Previous cohorts of MSc students have gone on to work in positions in academia, think tanks, government, and NGOs and some have recently even launched their own online magazine.

Our researchers also have had great achievements in recent months.

Will Allen has been named an Oxford Public Engagement with Research leader. In this role, he will work with COMPAS and our home Department, the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, to enhance support for direct engagement with the public. Marina Fernandez-Reino published a major piece of work on the impact of ethnic group stereotypes on labour market outcomes of Latinos in the United States and in Spain and Yvonni Markaki and Scott Blinder published a fascinating article explaining why some Europeans support immigration from within the European Union, while rejecting immigration from elsewhere.

Meanwhile our colleagues at the Global Exchange on Migration and Development  continue to build networks in the UK and internationally. They have just launched the publication of their set of reports on “safe reporting” of crime for victims and witnesses with irregular migration status in the USA and several European countries.

Given the current political climate, it's been another busy period for the Migration Observatory. It's latest output, The Migration Observatory Local Data Guide , brings together some of the most useful UK local migration data and presents the information in a user-friendly way.

Finally, this term the COMPAS Seminar Series will take place on Thursdays at 3:30pm, run this term jointly with the Maison Française d'Oxford. The series focuses on City Networks and Migration Governance with an impressive list of speakers participating. We are also hosting a major debate about Migration into and out of the UK after Brexit on 29 October.

Please join us for the seminars and share the information with your colleagues.

Carlos Vargas-Silva

Carlos Vargas-Silva