Sussex Centre for Migration Research

Migration and Development

SCMR researchers are carrying out a number of studies on the many facets of the migrationā€“development nexus. The projects carried out within this umbrella study both people who have chosen to move of their own accord, and forced migrants. They also study issues of resettlement and the impact of migration for developing countries.

Ongoing research projects on Migration and Development

"Selling Thai-ness" to Westerners

Funded by the British Academy and Thai Research Fund, under the Newton Advanced Fellowship Scheme, this project runs between September 2018 and September 2020.

This research studies the opportunities for and social consequences of "selling Thainess" to Westerners within Thailand's strategy for tourist-driven development. First, we examine the opportunity structure for viable small-scale businesses, such as spas, or massage parlours, that sell distinctive "Thai" services. How do entrepreneurs market "Thai-ness" as a cultural product for Westerners? Second, we address the social consequences of selling "Thai-ness" for people (especially women) who work in this sector. How does this impact on the working lives, life-chances and personal wellbeing of individuals, and on their families? Third, our inquiry is embedded in a case study of the tourist city, Hua Hin, so that we examine the small-scale service sector's contribution to socio-economic development, and its related social consequences, within a specific field and policy context. Fourth, we study how "selling Thai-ness" works as a strategy for Thai women migrants in their efforts to improve their lifechances in Britain.

Dr Sirijit Sunanta, Principal Investigator

Professor Paul Statham, Co-applicant

Migrating out of Poverty

Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, Migrating out of Poverty is a seven-year research programme consortium (RPC) which started in 2010 and runs until 2018.

The Migrating out of Poverty RPC focuses on the relationship between internal and regional migration and poverty and is located in six regions across Asia, Africa and Europe. The RPC works to produce research which sheds light on the circumstances in which migration can most effectively reduce poverty.

The RPC is co-ordinated by the University of Sussex, where the researchers involved are:

Dr Priya Deshingkar (Research Director)

Dr Julie Litchfield (Quantitative research theme leader)

Dr Dorte Thorsen (Qualitative and Gender research theme leader)

Professor L. Alan Winters (CEO)

Dr Robert Nurick (Executive Officer)

Kate Hawkins (Research Uptake Manager)

Allison Baldasare (Research Project Administrator)

For more information please visit the Migrating out of Poverty website

The Child Migration Research Network

The Child Migration Research Network (CMRN) is run by the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium at the University of Sussex, which is funded by DFID. CMRN was set up thanks to funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The CMRN grew out of work carried out by researchers at the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty (Migration DRC), and its successor, the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium. The Migration DRC’s research on young people focused on the independent migration of children and youth and began to bring together researchers and practitioners working with children affected by migration. The Migrating out of Poverty consortium’s research will include further investigation of girls' migration in developing countries, with research findings intended to inform migration and social-protection policy recommendations.

Although there is some research that looks at children in the developed world who are first, second or even third generation migrants and how migration affects their education, health, cultural life and myriad other aspects, the focus of the CMRN is mainly on children and young people in developing countries or those subject to the immigration policies of developed countries.

For more information, please visit the CMRN website

Involuntary Resettlement: a Cross Country Study on Urban Inequality and Poverty

This study is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Department for International Development (DfID) and is run from the International Centre of Ethnic Studies, Colombo, between April 2013 and March 2016.

The research team is studying low-income communities in Cochin, Colombo and Jaffna, where displacement and resettlement have taken place as a result of development and conflict. The research aims to elucidate and theorise the complex interlinks between inequality and poverty within the context of urban resettlement, examining the difference made by displacement to the condition of urban IDPs (internally displaced persons) in contrast to the lives of urban non-IDPs.

SCMR Researcher Dr Mike Collyer plays an advisory and training role in this project.

More information


Completed research projects on Migration and Development

Global Environmental Migration

Overseen by the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Sir John Beddington, and advised by a lead expert group chaired by (then) SCMR Researcher Prof Richard Black, the project Migration and Global Environmental Change ran from 2009-2011, with the findings published in October 2011. The project examined how profound changes in environmental conditions such as flooding, drought and rising sea levels will influence and interact with patterns of global human migration over the next 50 years.

Read here for more information on Global Enviroronmental Migration