09/11/2015

Refugee support, refugee research

The Austrian Academy of Sciences has introduced an initiative promoting the integration of refugees in Austria and intensifying research on refugees as subject of great importance to society.

Thousands of people are currently coming to Austria as refugees. Many of these people are highly qualified – students, engineers, academics. The Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) wishes to support the integration of people who were forced to leave their homeland.
As OeAW President Anton Zeilinger explains, “It is our duty to society to support refugees and to help them build a future in this country. Doing so creates opportunities not only for the new arrivals but also for Austria.”

Hence the Academy is planning projects that will support refugees and their integration, including a programme offering them the opportunity to further their education, for example through internships at its institutes for people holding a university degree.

The OeAW will also intensify its research on refugee crises, their causes and impacts in both the countries of origin and the target countries. The academy will share its findings and a wealth of expertise on the subject of refugees with politics and the public sphere in the form of events, statements and commentaries.

Several of its institutes already have a long tradition of research in the fields of migration and integration. For instance, the Institute for Social Anthropology has been examining the situation of members of the Yazidi minority forced to flee from Iraq and the Syrian Palestinians, and last year the OeAW Institute for Demography collaborated with the Wittgenstein Center to publish the pioneering study “Quantifying Global International Migration Flows”. For many years, many of the Academy’s institutes have benefitted from the work of several highly successful researchers who themselves came to Austria as migrants.