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Refugees: the science of integration

Research and scientific evidence can help inform programmes and policies designed to help refugees build a better future in Europe. Image credit - Flickr/Ilias Bartolini, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Research and scientific evidence can help inform programmes and policies designed to help refugees build a better future in Europe. Image credit - Flickr/Ilias Bartolini, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

How can science help refugees to successfully make a new home in Europe? In July, Horizon examines what we mean when we talk about integration and how research can help refugees build a better future. We speak to Dr Dominik Hangertner at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, about defining integration in order to measure it, the impact of current asylum policies and how big data can help resettlement decisions. We examine how researchers are looking into specific programmes that schools can establish to support adolescent refugees and how media literacy is one such area that can empower young newcomers. We also look at how longer-term mental health needs are being addressed and we speak to researchers and scientists who came to the EU as asylum seekers about the challenges of starting over in a new country.

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Academia is tough - now imagine trying to enter it as a refugee

Just months after Dr Ahmad Al Ajlan begun a new job as a university lecturer in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, he was forced to flee his country for Europe. When he arrived in Germany in March 2015, after several months of travelling, he was placed in a number of camps before being allocated a cramped apartment with five other refugees.

Healing refugees’ mental scars could help them build new lives

They are fleeing war, famine and persecution, risking treacherous journeys across deserts and seas in search of safety. But helping refugees and asylum seekers to cope with the psychological scars caused by their experiences could help them adjust to life in their new homes.

Five things you need to know about: the science of refugee integration

In the last few years, the integration of refugees into European societies has become an urgent issue.  Since 2015, nearly 4 million people have applied for asylum in the EU and many are now beginning to make new lives here. What does it mean to become integrated into a new society? How can it be achieved? And are current policies helping or hindering? We spoke to Dr Dominik Hangartner from the Immigration Policy Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, about what the evidence tells us about successful integration. Here are five takeaways.

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