“Future of Migration to Europe” – joint conference – Day 1

2023 March 07

Currently, about 3.4% of the world’s population are international migrants – they have left their country of birth and settled in a new country. Global migration is expected to increase due to population growth and increased mobility resulting from rising income in poorer countries, political unrest, and climate change.

On 26-27 April 2023, the conference "Future Migration to Europe" took place in Brussels and online, gathering a multidisciplinary group of academics, practitioners, and policymakers to address some of the most pressing questions about migration projections and their impact on evidence-based policy development.

Understanding the future of migration

Date: 2023 April 26
Physical venue: Vrije University

The academic day gathered migration scholars and experts for in-depth discussions on academic challenges and opportunities for forecasting migration. During this day, participants got to hear the main takeaways from three Horizon 2020-funded projects - HumMingBird, FUME & QuantMig. The day provided the opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge on a variety of aspects related to migration studies - from analysing the migration drivers, and emerging destinations, collecting traditional and new data, quantifying and modelling future migrations, to foreseeing future migration flows.

Scroll down to explore the conference keynotes, research insights and round table discussions. Click on the speakers' names with the arrow to see their slides.


Welcome by Horizon 2020 projects: HumMingBird, FUME & QuantMig

Round Table: The Phenomenon of Migration - State of the art and knowledge gaps

This discussion explores the current state of the art in migration studies, the key knowledge gaps and challenges in forecasting future migration patterns, and potential strategies for addressing these challenges. Leading migration scholars highlight major research trends, the social and economic impacts of migration, limitations of existing data sources, and challenges in developing accurate migration scenarios and effective migration policies.



Why do people decide to migrate? Aspirations, drivers and intersectionality

This session explores the push factors that influence an individual's decision to move from their country of origin. Participants discuss the role of aspirations and drivers such as economic opportunities, social networks, family ties, political unrest and climate change, as well as the intersectionality of factors such as gender, age, and level of education that can shape migration decisions. Drawing on the latest research and insights from Horizon 2020 projects and external experts in the field, this session provides a nuanced and in-depth understanding of the complexities of migration decision-making.

Moderator/discussant: Prof. Jasper Dag Tjaden, University of Potsdam#

Speakers from the projects:


Understanding the migration journey, emerging destinations and temporary hubs 

This session explores the dynamics of the migration journey, including temporary hubs and new emerging destinations within Europe. It discusses the pull factors of migration towards Europe and challenges faced by migrants as they navigate their journey, including issues related to border crossings, asylum procedures, and integration into new communities. Drawing on the latest research and insights from experts in the field, this session provides a deeper understanding of the migration journey and the various factors that influence it, including policies, social networks, and economic opportunities. Ultimately, the session sheds light on the complex and dynamic nature of migration and the challenges faced by migrants and the communities they seek to join.

Moderator: Tuba Bircan

Moderated discussion among projects:


Traditional and New Data: Questioning and improving the concept of evidence 

This session critically examines the concept of evidence in migration studies, exploring the strengths and limitations of traditional and new data sources. It discusses the challenges of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data on migration, as well as the potential biases and limitations of different data sources. Drawing on experiences from the Horizon 2020 projects, the session explores innovative approaches to data collection and analysis, including big data, social media, mobile data, and other emerging alternative data sources. Ultimately, this session challenges participants to question their assumptions about what constitutes evidence in migration studies and to consider new and innovative ways of generating insights into this complex and important phenomenon.

Moderator/discussant: Dr. Damien Jusselme, Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, IOM

Moderated discussion among projects:

Quantifying and modelling future migration

This session explores the challenges and opportunities of quantifying and modelling future migration patterns. It discusses the various methods and models used to forecast migration among Horizon 2020 projects. The session also examines the strengths and limitations of these methods, including issues related to data quality, model complexity, and uncertainty. The following discussion provides a deeper understanding of the complex and dynamic nature of migration and the challenges of predicting future trends.
Moderator/discussant: Dr. Stefano Iacus, IQQS Harvard University

Speakers from the projects:

What to foresee? Future scenarios for migration 

This session analyses the potential future migration patterns to Europe. Drawing on the projections developed by Horizon 2020 projects, researchers share the results of migration scenarios and their demographic impacts for EU member states and regions of origin.

Moderator: Carsten Kessler

Speakers from the projects:

Migration projections: Potential uses and concerns

This session examines the potential uses and concerns around migration projections, exploring the ways in which these projections are utilised in policy development, resource allocation, and strategic planning.  It also examines the ethical considerations associated with migration projections, including issues related to data privacy, discrimination, segregation, and the potential for unintended consequences. Drawing on the latest research and insights from experts in the field, this session provides a nuanced and in-depth understanding of the complex and multifaceted nature of migration projections, highlighting the need for careful consideration of their potential uses and ethical implications.

Moderator: Ann Singleton, The University of Bristol

Speakers from the projects: