Research cluster: Mobility and Migration-Specific Inequalities

Start of the project: 01-Feb-2021

At the beginning of 2021, the former research cluster "Mobility of the Highly Skilled" has positioned itself on a broader base content and personnel wise. The previous focus on the spatial mobility of students and graduates will be supplemented by research perspectives that take inequalities in access to various educational options as well as heterogeneous educational and labour market outcomes depending on migration background into account. In addition, the cluster is expanding its content to include the topics of virtual and cognitive mobility while it continues to pursue the goal of examining theoretical and methodological approaches to mobility and migration research and their possible applications in higher education and science research.

In the coming years, the role of migration-specific differences at the transition to higher education, Master programmes, the doctorate and the non-academic labour market will be examined.

  • Do people with a migration background have higher educational aspirations at these transitions? How is this explainable?
  • Do the returns of academic qualification vary depending on migration background? Can academic education balance (expected) discrimination in the labour market?
  • Are there any differences between international students (with and without refugee experience) and students with a migration background who obtained their higher education entrance qualification in Germany?

With regard to scientists, virtual and cognitive mobility are examined as new forms of non-spatial mobility. While virtual mobility refers to the transfer of information with the help of information and communication technologies, cognitive mobility can be understood as a change of subject or content-related scientific focus in the course of an academic career.

  • How can forms of virtual and cognitive mobility be empirically measured and analysed?
  • How do spatial, virtual and cognitive mobility of scientists relate to one another?

At the level of higher education institutions, the development of programmes targeted at international students and those with refugee experience raises the question of migration-specific challenges and the fit between needs and supply.

  • Which support services exist for students of varying migration backgrounds? How do students assess the fit between their needs and available support structures?
  • Which organisational characteristics influence the establishment of diversity offices?

In addition, research on networks of transnational student mobility is carried on. Thereby, special focus will be laid on the role political-institutional factors and gender-specific differences play for the observed patterns of transnational student mobility.

  • Do the degree of academic freedom and economic inequality, human and women's rights and the stability of political institutions impact on the attractiveness of a country as a study destination?
  • Does the gender of internationally mobile students influence the decision for a place of study?

The cluster bundles publication and lecture activities on the topics of mobility and migration-specific inequalities within the DZHW and additionally promotes cooperation with external researchers.

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The ‘Global South’ in the network of transnational student mobility. Effects of institutional stability, reputation, post-colonial ties, and cultural homophily.

Vögtle, E. (2021, März).
The ‘Global South’ in the network of transnational student mobility. Effects of institutional stability, reputation, post-colonial ties, and cultural homophily. Vortrag auf der Tagung Aktuelle Entwicklungen der Netzwerkforschung und Computational Social Science, Mark Lutter, Jan Riebling, Nico Sonntag und Linus Weidner, Universität Wuppertal, Deutschland.

Which role does institutional fragility or stability play for the attractiveness of a country as study destination? How does this interact with socio-economic conditions? Is homophily between countries still influential for transnational student mobility if we analyze a global sample without any pre-selection of countries? Are colonial ties between countries still influential for the direction and intensity of student exchange networks?

Head of Research cluster

Nicolai Netz
Dr. Nicolai Netz Head of Research cluster +49 511 450670-171
Eva Maria Vögtle
Dr. Eva Maria Vögtle Head of Research cluster +49 511 450670-359


Jana Berg Clemens Blümel Fine Cordua Michael Grüttner Hanna Mentges Dr. Pedro Pineda Hendrik Schirmer Swetlana Sudheimer