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Refugee economies grocers shops kakuma
A grocers shop at Kakuma camp, Kenya. Credit: RSC/N Omata.

We are delighted to announce a new three-year funding agreement with the IKEA Foundation. This agreement, totalling £1.3m, will cover funding in three areas: a three-year Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall integrated into activities at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC); research at the RSC on the economic lives and contributions of refugees in three countries; and RSC Summer School bursaries for participants from the global South.

The IKEA Foundation Research Fellowship supports an early-career researcher to undertake research of importance to the Foundation, with a focus on refugees. The new Research Fellow has now been appointed, to be based at Lady Margaret Hall and the Refugee Studies Centre for the next three years. Dr Kathrin Bachleitner, a political scientist who has worked previously in the Middle East with Palestinian refugees, intends to embark on research into how historical memory has shaped European states’ policies towards Syrian refugees.

The funding agreement will support the RSC’s Refugee Economies research in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, the insights from which will be used to inform humanitarian policy and practice to benefit refugees in the long term. This project follows on from research previously undertaken by the Centre into refugee economies in Uganda and Kenya. The main focus of the research is to build an unprecedented panel data set on the economic lives and impact of refugees and hosts in these three countries across a three-year period.

The bursaries for the RSC’s International Summer School in Forced Migration will facilitate the participation of greater numbers of low-income participants from the global South, and will thus build capacity within the humanitarian sector.

Outgoing RSC Director, Professor Alexander Betts, who leads the Refugee Economies Programme, said:

This is an extremely exciting collaboration for the RSC, enabling us to scale-up our work on the economic lives and impact of refugees while building our capacity for research, teaching and impact.

Annemieke Tsike-Sossah de Jong, Head of Portfolio Reshaping Humanitarian Response said:

The IKEA Foundation believes innovative research can help develop practical solutions to real-world problems, and that is why we are funding the Refugee Studies Centre and the IKEA Foundation Research Fellowship.

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The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change.

Lady Margaret Hall is a pioneering Oxford University college. It has been changing lives since 1879, when it became the first to educate women – until then excluded from Oxford. It admitted men in 1979 and, in 2016, became the first Oxbridge college to establish a Foundation Year for under-represented students.