Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies

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Prof. Dr. Helen Schwenken, IMIS director Prof. Dr. Andreas Pott, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Lücke (president of the University), Wolfgang Griesert (Osnabrück's Lord Mayor of Osnabrück), founding director of IMIS Prof. Dr. Klaus J. Bade, State Minister Aydan Özoguz (Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration), and Prof. Dr. Jochen Oltmer (missing: Cornelia Rundt, Minister for Social Affairs of Lower Saxony). On Friday, 29 May 2015, more than 300 invited guest celebrated with them the 25th anniversary of IMIS. Photo by Elena Scholz.
press releasevideo of the event

The moment of the cake-cutting by former IMIS-directors Klaus J. Bade and Hans-Joachim Wenzel as well as the acting IMIS-director Andreas Pott. photo: Anna Kaim

›Matter Of Opinion‹: IMIS in a film

On the occasion of IMIS' 25 th anniversary in 2015, students presented her perspectives on IMIS in a video:

watch video

History of IMIS

IMIS was formally founded as an interfacultative research institution in June 1991 by an act of the Lower Saxony Ministry for Scholarship and Culture and officially inaugurated at the Osnabrück Castle’s auditorium in November 1991. With that, IMIS was the first university institution of its kind in Germany.

The prologue to IMIS already developed in the late 1980s: It was then that historian Prof. Dr. Klaus J. Bade endeavoured to establish and organise the expanding interdisciplinary migration research activities transregionally. In June 1989, the ›Arbeitskreis Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien‹, a working group on migration research and intercultural studies, was set up at the University of Osnabrück. The multidisciplinary group met in regular intervals to discuss contemporary topics, to organise lectures and seminars and to path the way to the institute’s foundation. These efforts were supported by major start-up funding granted by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the Freudenberg Foundation.

From the beginning, IMIS was designed to be a supra-regional, international centre for multi-disciplinary contacts and interdisciplinary research. Respective library collections and office rooms were required for research projects and PhD students. A crucial point was reached in 1993 when Professor Bade succeeded in securing funds from the state of Lower Saxony. Since then the IMIS head office has been managing its own budget and research library. With its move to new premises in 1996, IMIS offered from then workplaces for guests with own funding, allowing them to fully focus on their projects during their stays for any amount of time from several weeks to a full year.

Numerous externally funded research activities over the past years have led to in-depth interdisciplinary research. IMIS has gained considerable and broad experience in attracting and supporting young researchers. Upon completion of the DFG post-graduate college ›Migration in Modern Europe‹ within which around 50 PhD students were educated from 1995 to 2005, the emphasis shifted to the promotion of young academics already engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary projects. The prospects of research-based learning that developed against the backdrop of the post-graduate college resulted in the idea and establishment of the master’s degree programme ›International Migration and Intercultural Relations ‹ (German: Internationale Migration und Interkulturelle Beziehungen, IMIB) in winter 2003/2004. Ever since IMIS has been offering an interdisciplinary and research-based programme that addresses BA graduates of broad range of disciplines. Moreover, since winter 2010/2011 and until winter 2015/16 the IMIB master programme is part of the Erasmus Mundus joint master programme ›International Migration and Social Cohesion‹ (MISOCO) that primarily addresses international students from non-European states. In January 2018, IMIS has been transformed to a research center, a new organisational form at Osnabrück University.

The institute is headed by an executive board chaired by its IMIS director. Founding director was Prof. Dr Klaus J. Bade, who held office from 1991 to 1997. Social geographer Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Wenzel followed from 1997 to 2002. Prof. dr. Bade took over office again from 2002 to 2005. Migration sociologist Prof. Dr. Michael Bommes followed from 2005 to 2009 and since 2009 social geographer Prof. Dr. Andreas Pott has held office as IMIS director.