One of the objectives of the SPRING project is to systematically map and synthesise the best available research and evidence on sustainable and effective integration policy practices, focusing on the integration of recently arrived migrants since 2014 and the work done by Europe’s integration stakeholders at national, regional, and local levels.
To reach these goals, Danube University Krems (DUK) established in close collaboration with Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and other SPRING partners a systematic classification system (the “SPRING taxonomy”) for the collection, mapping and synthesis of research and evidence on integration policy practices. Thus, the taxonomy provides the framework to map and review studies on integration policy practices, synthesise the main evidence and make it accessible through both a handbook and the SPRING platform in a way that is tailored to the needs of communities of practice.
The focus on integration policy practices shows SPRING’s understanding of integration policy as an inherently diverse field constituted by a plurality of practices, a multitude and diversity of actors (including mainstream and specialised institutions and organisations), and two basic types of interventions: policy (and politics), i.e. the negotiation and definition of policy objectives and the choice of instruments on the one hand, and their implementation through concrete practices on the other.
The SPRING taxonomy builds on:
- the Migration Research Hub taxonomy, a comprehensive global database that gathers experts, publications, datasets and projects on migration and integration.
- Categories identified for the SPRING’s stakeholder mapping
- SPRING’s four focus dimensions of integration, i.e. housing and settlement, employment, education and training, access to services, as well as its four analytical dimensions for reviewing evidence. These comprise policy frames, instruments and tools, outcomes, and community relations.
SPRING follows a process-oriented co-design approach across its project activities that revolves around mutual feedback, learning and reflection, shaping communication and cooperation within the project and with external partners from science, policy, and practice.
The transdisciplinary research pursued under the project aims to address a socially relevant problem, facilitating mutual learning processes between academics within and across disciplines as well as with actors outside research and academia (e.g., integration practitioners), and generating solution-oriented knowledge that is relevant in academia, society, and practice.
These results informed the present version of the taxonomy (as displayed here) which consists of seven overarching categories and 61 topics. These seven categories are: governance level/geographical target area; governance actors; areas of integration; analytical dimensions of integration policy practices; target groups in terms of legal status and admission channels; target groups in terms of social characteristics; and a residual category “other” research characteristics.
To gather and synthetise knowledge that is demand-driven and directly applicable, partners will adapt the taxonomy throughout the project by engaging with practitioners around their knowledge gaps and needs. The taxonomy will be further validated, adapted, and refined in a process-oriented manner in the course of the project, in particular with regard to the mapping, review and synthesis of academic research and evidence, while engaging with communities of practice and identifying successful and sustainable integration policy practices.