Research of possible rivalries, potential violence and solidarity between different migrant groups is the focus of Heidrun Bohnet's work. For this, the migration researcher has been awarded the European Research Council's (ERC) Starting Grant worth 1.5 million euros for a period of five years.

Assistant Professor Dr. Heidrun Bohnet joined the Department of Migration and Globalisation at the University for Continuing Education Krems in October 2020. Prior to that, she was a research and teaching fellow (Maître Assistante) at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Geneva and a senior researcher at the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC).

In her ERC project "Mixed (ar)rivals: Perceptions of threat, inequality, and the risk of violence between different (forced) migrant groups in North Africa", Bohnet investigates the perceptions and relationships between various refugee and migrant groups, which differ, for example, in terms of their nationality, ethnicity, or the status attributed to them. The main objective of the project titled "MixedRivals" is to unravel inter-migrant group relations and to answer when they may turn rival or rather solidary.

MixedRivals will take an innovative interdisciplinary approach, bringing different theories on inter-group relations from social psychology, conflict, rivalry, migration, and policy research together with the aim of advancing the theoretical framework on inter-migrant group relations. The concept of "mixed rivals and rivalries" is introduced by Bohnet to describe and underline the complex and multi-dimensional contestations that might arise between different refugee and migrant groups. With the ERC Starting Grant, Bohnet plans to collect large-scale cross-sectional qualitative and quantitative data on the perception of threat, inequality, and risk of violence between different migrant and refugee groups in three North African countries: Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt.

Bohnet has published in leading international relations journals, such as the Journal of Conflict Research, Conflict Management and Peace Science and Civil Wars. Her research primarily examines the nexus between forced migration (conflict and environmentally induced) and violent conflict. She further works on "de facto" refugee and migration policies as well as "Mixed Migration", and spatial, categorical, and temporal linkages between migration flows and policies.

ERC Starting Grants support young researchers

Established by the European Union in 2007, the European Research Council (ERC) is the main European funding organization for excellent frontier research. Its funds, part of the EU's Horizon Europe programme, are invested in scientific projects spanning all disciplines of research. The ERC Starting grant is meant to support young researchers in their academic career, and proposals are evaluated on the sole criterion of "excellence".

On September 5, the ERC published the results of the 2023 Starting Grant call. With a budget of 628 million euros, 400 projects will be funded in this round, 19 of them in Austria.      


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