Monday 27 June 2011

Dr Janet Wilson

The three year research project – a collaboration between Northampton, Germany’s University of Münster, India’s University of Mumbai, Stockholm and two other UK universities, The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and University of Oxford – has been given the green light thanks to a £3.2million grant from the Marie Curie Initial Training Networks fund.

It was only one of seven applications, out of the several hundreds submitted, to be accepted for funding.

Dr Janet Wilson, Professor in English and Postcolonial Studies at The University of Northampton, said:

“This is wonderful news and a real coup for all the universities involved. Research funding in the UK is very limited at the moment and hundreds of bids were submitted, so we are delighted to be bringing continents together to research this essential issue.

“In the last 10 years migration around the world has soared. As transport links have developed, more people have been able to go back and forth between countries and large numbers of people, and often entire groups or even nations, are on the move for a wide variety of reasons – everything from financial to political.

“Refugees are searching for work, asylum seekers are fleeing their own countries, migrants are on the move seeking seasonal work and contract professionals like health and care workers around the world are in search of work. After finding employment overseas they often send money back to families in their home countries. This whole issue of increased mobilization – known as diaspora – means that our globalised world is shaped by international migration.

“This creates massive challenges to nation states and civil societies, culturally, economically and politically, but it also creates opportunities and new perspectives in an unprecedented degree. In-depth research on a major scale is urgently called for to grapple with this complex development.”

The consortium’s bid is called CoHaB and will include the training of doctoral and postdoctoral scholars who will focus on the theme ‘Constructions of Home and Belonging’.

Janet is now preparing to meet with the other UK universities involved, with priorities, time lines and research areas set to be agreed.

“At The University of Northampton we are rightly proud of the partnerships we already have with other institutions around the world,” said Janet. “We have been working closely with Mumbai and Münster for over five years – meeting at conferences and on research visits to each others’ institutions, collaborating and publishing work together – so we are looking forward to continuing this partnership over the next three years, as this exciting and essential piece of research unfolds.”

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