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Proposal on refugee crisis management wins student Research Design Conference

This year Elke Devroe and Moniek Akerboom organized a ‘Research Design Conference’ for students in the course ‘Research Design’ of the Master’s Crisis and Security Management (CSM). Each group competed in obtaining a (fictive) grant. Students learned to defend their proposal and make it attractive and feasible for funding. The first place was “conquered” with a research proposal on citizen contribution and policy making within the refugee crisis management.

The winning group focused on a very current public administration related research topic that has been acquiring more and more societal relevance in European countries dealing with the refugee crisis, including the Netherlands. An answer to the research question "How can citizens contribute to policy making processes in Dutch municipalities regarding the sheltering of asylum seekers from the current refugee crisis?" was designed as a multiple case study design in four Dutch municipalities (Geldermalsen, Enschede, Almelo and Wijk bij Duurstede).

Protests and attacks

In the last years an increasing number of refugees from conflict areas have been moving to the EU to seek asylum. Despite fleeing from horrific conflicts at home and risking their lives in extremely dangerous journeys, those people are not always welcomed with open arms in Dutch municipalities. This is sometimes due to citizen security related concerns and threat perceptions. In December 2015, while the council of Geldermalsen was deciding upon the opening of a new refugee center, it was attacked by firework bombs and stones thrown by opponents of the asylum seeker center. In Enschede there was strong protest against the opening of an asylum seeker centre as well.

Political choices

The research proposal aims at observing how the lack, or presence, of protests against asylum centers have influenced the political choice on the sheltering of asylum seekers.  It is evident how the refugee crisis has become a serious crisis management challenge for Dutch policymakers, called not only to manage the migrant situation itself, but also citizen reactions and related protests. Reactions and protests which have the power to influence decisions of those who are reliant on the public for approval and re-election.

Topics of interest

Other student groups presented ten interesting research proposals ranging from terrorism, crisis management, cyber security, international conflicts, privatization of CSM, environmental disasters, the migrant crisis and intelligence services.

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