The project

At a glance

Policy-making in the migration, asylum and integration field needs accurate and reliable knowledge. Politicians at all levels, civil society representatives and researchers need suitable ways of working together in the face of a rapidly changing environment. ReSOMA, the Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum, is the initiative mobilising for sustained, regular policy dialogue across Europe and facilitating policies based on evidence. In a unique partnership of European civil society and local authority organisations, think tanks and research networks, ReSOMA creates new opportunities for consultation and provides policy-relevant expertise. Started in 2018, ReSOMA is a two-year project supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme.


Evidence-based solutions
Increasingly, the migration debate has lost a sense of perspective and is disproportionally focused on security issues. Policies fail to provide sustainable solutions as they are not based on accurate facts, are hostage to perceived constrains and play to, or even exacerbate, fears and sentiments.
ReSOMA brings reliable knowledge and a focus on what really matters to the debate and highlights feasible, durable and rights-based solutions.

Swift policy responses
Migration dynamics have accelerated recently and influence politics on a scale rarely seen before. Politicians and other decision-makers struggle to keep up with new or quickly moving developments and often do too little, too late. ReSOMA helps policies to anticipate trends and be pro-active and responsive to realities at the grass-roots level.

Pooled expertise
Expert knowledge related to migration is extensive but disconnected, and too rarely finds its way into decision-making. ReSOMA brings together robust scientific evidence with the wealth of know-how and on-the-ground experience in civil society and cities, to jointly and better inform European policies.

Agenda setting
Across Europe and at EU level, politicians are challenged to appropriately address the core issues and fail to respond to emerging problems. ReSOMA firmly focuses on the questions which most urgently require lasting answers and identifies the unmet needs that have remained outside the spotlight of policy attention.

Europeanised debates
EU migration policies have become hugely important, while the issues and solutions discussed in Member States often sharply diverge. ReSOMA anchors European debate in the national and local contexts, links Member States debates with the EU migration agenda and opens new channels of consultation among migration stakeholders at various levels.

Cross-sectoral networks
Migration experts in academia, civil society and public administration not often enough speak to each other. ReSOMA initiates lasting relationships for exchange and consultation; and convenes a community of researchers, policymakers and practitioners engaged in ongoing discussions on key questions.

Knowledge for EU platforms
At European level, EU institutions and agencies have established formats for policy dialogue and exchange, bringing together the EU actors with civil society, different levels of government and research. ReSOMA contributes to the effectiveness and the impact of these existing platforms by providing evidence, policy options and alternative scenarios for policy reform.

What we do

ReSOMA is interaction. During two annual cycles, ReSOMA identifies the most pressing topics and needs relating to the migration, asylum and integration debate. Project partners then gather evidence on these topics by involving researchers, policymakers and practitioners, engage them in several cycles of consultations enabling them to connect with one another, and produce a number of publications. In three consecutive steps and through its ongoing communication and networking efforts, ReSOMA

…responds to & sets the policy agenda.
At the beginning of each one-year cycle, ReSOMA identifies a total of nine critical topics in the migration, asylum and integration areas, based on exchange with the high-level ReSOMA Advisory Board and by tracking emerging policy discussions at Member State level. This process considers both the on-going debate at EU level (top-down) and the policy needs at local and national level that are currently not addressed as part of the EU agenda (bottom-up). Involving consultations with the ReSOMA civil society (Social Platform) and city partners (Eurocities) as well as a survey among experts and practitioners in Member States, CEPS and MPG produce Policy Discussion Briefs, which point out the main issues and controversies on the nine topics. Ask-the-Expert Policy Briefs are authored by ReSOMA experts to foster debate and analysis with the evidence provided by academic research. Coordinated through Erasmus University Rotterdam and the IMISCOE research network, consultations with leading experts and migration stakeholders in selected Member States result in National Stakeholder Reports, that feature analyses on the possible consequences of EU policies for Member States and their role in shaping the EU agenda.

…outlines policy options & effective policy responses.
Building on the identification of pivotal topics and controversies in the Discussion Policy Briefs, ReSOMA’s Think Tank partners CEPS and MPG point out the different policy options put forward by civil society organisations and local authorities, researchers and other participants in the debate. Policy Option Briefs bring together these alternative options, map their support and spell out which evidence is used by the advocates of these various solutions to argue for their effectiveness. In Transnational Thematic Meetings, experts and practitioners reflect on the range of policy options and the knowledge base supporting the proposals. ReSOMA partners representing key interests, including ECRE, Social Platform, PICUM and EUROCITIES, use this opportunity to reach out to other civil society partners, exchange on proposals and their evidence base, and mutually reinforce the thrust of their policy recommendations. Both elaboration of the Policy Option Briefs and the Transnational Thematic Meetings involve experts and researchers from Member States, to ensure that the perspectives and grassroot experiences from different parts of Europe are reflected in the ReSOMA outputs. The results of this stage of the ReSOMA cycle are evidence-based policy options as they emerge from the pooling of practitioners’ experiences and scholarly results.

…challenges perceived policy dilemmas & offers alternatives.
In another step of the ReSOMA cycle, policy choices are discussed with EU-level policymakers in the context of the alternative, evidence-based options gathered by ReSOMA. In a Task Force Meeting led by CEPS and focusing on current decision processes in the asylum, migration and integration areas, representatives of EU institutions, like Commission services and EU agencies, reflect on the dilemmas and trade-offs they see when making decisions, and the possible contradictions between existing policies and practices. Through this reflection at European level and an accompanying survey among Member State experts and practitioners, ReSOMA is able to question existing policy patterns and propose viable, long-term alternatives. Synthetic Reports are the final result of the ReSOMA cycle, making available recommendations that are based on reliable knowledge instead of wishful thinking, counter myths and misperceptions and are able to attract broad support among policymakers. They contain scenarios for reform paths in the asylum, migration and integration areas in line with realities on the ground, the rule of law and human rights.

…informs the political and public debate.
During all its activities, ReSOMA instils discussion and invites practitioners, policymakers, researchers and everyone else interested in a rational migration debate to join the ReSOMA community. The interactive ReSOMA Platform, coordinated by ISMU, aims to engage with a continuously growing pool of experts on European level and in Member States to enrich the initiative with their specific knowledge and insights. Through ongoing exchange and discussion of the ReSOMA topics, the platform is the open innovation hub where ideas connect, new collaborations start and policy proposals emerge to enter public debate. As the final reports of the annual cycle become available, ReSOMA events communicate results to different audiences, including EU Launch Events and European Council Presidency Workshops. Results also feed into the ongoing work of European civil society organisations and the EU’s existing policy dialogue and consultation mechanisms. In ReSOMA’s second year, Transnational Launch Events in countries where specific issues represent high policy priorities offer the opportunity to discuss viable policy options with policymakers from all levels, civil society representatives and leading international experts.


The ReSOMA digital platform provides stakeholders with the essential, sustainable and innovative online tools that they need to bring their scientific and praxis-based knowledge into the EU’s ongoing policy debates and consultations on migration, asylum and integration. The platform serves as a central hub for project’s activities.The platform enables collaborative network and open innovation behaviors by facilitating dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders. The ReSOMA Policy Briefs include policy briefs on setting and responding the EU policy agenda, available policy options and perceived policy dilemmas and alternatives. In addition, the monthly expert interviews are focused on correcting coverage of the major news story likely to (re)shape the EU’s response to a key migration, asylum or integration issue.