Knowledge for policy
News 4 June 2020

A new platform for the Big Data for Migration (BD4M) Alliance to harness new data sources and innovative methodologies for migration

The JRC joined forces with the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and The GovLab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, to launch a new online knowledge platform to inform the global response to migration.

Despite the progresses made by national statistical offices, international organisations and other actors on migration data globally, there is still untapped potential making a more systematic use of innovative data sources for migration policy making.

Following a preparatory workshop, the BD4M Alliance was launched in 2018 in Brussels as the first-ever global network dedicated to facilitating responsible data innovation and collaboration for informed decision making on migration and human mobility.

By connecting stakeholders and leveraging non-traditional data sources to improve the understanding of migration and human mobility globally, the Alliance seeks to foster more cooperation across actors operating in a fast-moving world where a huge amount of data is being generated by the private sector and public-private data partnerships are still limited.

The new BD4M web page,  serves as a digital hub for the Alliance’s activities. It aims to inform stakeholders about the BD4M members, its objectives, ongoing projects, upcoming events and opportunities for collaboration.

The BD4M will also help build data innovation capacities in various regions around the world, support research and knowledge management. As a next step, it will host a private-sector dialogue series to discuss ways for setting up the collaborative frameworks to make use of new data sources for migration.


Data holds significant promise for improving the global response to migration. In order to maximize the value of our big data era, the BD4M will focus on defining and finding answers to the core questions that could transform migration policymaking for the better.

Stefaan Verhulst, co-founder and chief research and development officer at The GovLab

 Bringing together the private sector, the scientific community, policy makers and practitioners around migration has a direct effect both in channelling and steering data innovation efforts to address pressing societal questions. Furthermore, we observed that this dialogue, once initiated, has the potential to stimulate solutions to questions that were previously considered unthinkable even to ask. 

Michele Vespe, European Commission, Joint Research Centre

 The progress made in the conversation about data innovation for migration statistics in the past few years has been impressive. We went from a widespread scepticism to a growing collective realization that we should embrace innovation, along with the opportunities and challenges this presents. The BD4M can help facilitate the cross-sectoral collaborations and new frameworks needed for this to happen. The online platform launched today will be an important tool to this end.

Marzia Rango, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC)