Before IMIn: A brief history of IMI
The International Migration Institute (IMI) was established in response to a call for a new migration focussed research institute at the University of Oxford. This call came from what is now the Oxford Martin School, a unique, interdisciplinary research initiative addressing key global future challenges.
At the time, Steven Vertovec was director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), and Stephen Castles was director of the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), both at the University of Oxford. The then head of the Social Sciences Division, Nigel Thrift, asked them to ‘write’ a new institute that would complement the research of both COMPAS and RSC.
The vision that the two developed was one with global scope and a macro perspective. IMI, they decided, would look at the big picture of movements and dynamics, and would have a particular focus on those areas under-represented in the field of migration studies, such as the African continent.
Since 2006, when the institute was formally set up at the Oxford Department of International Development, it attracted further funding for a variety of projects, which meant that it grew rapidly both in terms of the number of staff and the scope of its research.
Stephen Castles was director of IMI until August 2009, when Robin Cohen took over as director from September 2009 until September 2011. Joint directorship was then assumed by Oliver Bakewell and Hein de Haas. In August 2015 Hein de Haas left IMI, and Oliver Bakewell took up position as its sole director. In September 2016 Oliver Bakewell stepped down as director and Mathias Czaika took over the position until July 2017, after which IMI transformed into an international network (IMIn) in August 2017 to further extend its global scope and impact.
The current IMIn network is a legacy of the various international projects and collaborations initiated by IMI since 2006, and seeks to further promote a new vision on migration.