Real-World Laboratory: Asylum Seekers

Since early 2016, the research team of the Real-World Laboratory: Asylum Seekers in the Rhine-Neckar region has been analysing factors that are necessary for a successful and sustainable social integration of asylum seekers into education and employment. To this end, researchers analyse the educational and vocational background of asylum seekers, in particular with regard to the development of linguistic, mathematical and professional competencies that facilitate social, civic and labour market participation. In addition to professional education opportunities, local contextual factors are crucial to this analysis, such as initiatives and support programmes offered by municipalities and public bodies like job centres, or programmes launched by the organised and informal civil society or by local businesses. Furthermore, social and local reception conditions for refugees also play an important role, such as civic engagement in the individual regions as well as the overall perceptible willingness of a society to foster integration.

Project structure

The Real-World Laboratory follows a trans-disciplinary, multi-method and participative approach. The project is carried out in collaboration of the Heidelberg University of Education (PH), the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, the Institute of Geography and the Centre for Social Investments (CSI) at Heidelberg University. In addition, numerous representatives from the region with practical experience in the field of integration actively contribute to the research process and participate in the collaborative development of solutions. The Real-World Laboratory consists of four sub-projects, which each focus on one specific aspect of sustainable integration.

About real-world laboratories

In real-world laboratories, prevalent social issues are investigated by scientists, representatives from society and practitioners. With a focus on current problems, the participants scientifically evaluate possible real-world solutions and develop new, sustainable approaches. This enables the region’s knowledge-base to be widened, the effectiveness of measures to be investigated and best-practice recommendations to be developed.

The Real-World Laboratory: Asylum Seekers is part of the “Urban Field Lab” programme of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts and is set to run from January 2016 to March 2019.