Integrating Immigrants in Europe

Part of the series IMISCOE Research Series pp 185-211

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Research-Policy Dialogues in Germany

  • Friedrich HeckmannAffiliated withEFMS Bamberg Email author 
  • , Delia WiestAffiliated withEFMS Bamberg


In Germany there is a rich and many-faceted academic tradition on immigrant integration, which goes back several decades. Initially, however, dialogues between researchers and policymakers were relatively scarce. This was largely because German policymakers did not consider the country to be a country of immigration. Consequently, they did not have a great interest in acquiring knowledge on immigrant integration, and certainly not at the federal level. This situation began to change in the 1990s, when Germany was faced with growing numbers of immigrants, largely as a consequence of the political changes in Europe. Academics were successful in mobilising public opinion and the media, and thus forced the government to reconsider the basis of its policies. Once the fact that Germany had become an immigration country had been publicly acknowledged, several new dialogue and consultancy structures were set up, which encouraged the use of research outcomes in policymaking. However, in all cases analysed in more detail in this chapter, the political primacy has remained over the use (or misuse) of the relevant research outcomes. This seems to be the case primarily at the federal level, and less so at the local level, where there is more room for mutual learning.