Horizon Europe 2020 project on the governance of migration and diversity

Dr. Maria Schiller and prof. dr. Peter Scholten from the Erasmus University Rotterdam participate in a newly awarded Horizon Europe 2020 project on the integration of post-2014 migrants in small- and medium-sized towns and rural areas: WHOLE-COMM. The project will start on April 1st, 2021 and will last for 36 months. The overarching goal is to trigger innovation and to build more cohesive and more resilient communities. 

Update March 2023: All publications in the WHOLE-COMM project can be found in this overview

The project starts out from the observation that over the last few years, the EU has received unprecedented numbers of migrants and asylum seekers, often in an unorderly way. This has led to a growing immigrant presence in small and medium-size towns and rural areas. Conceiving the integration of these migrants through a Whole-of-Community approach, this project studies migrant integration as involving interactions of multiple actors, including natives, long-term residents and newly arrived migrants as well as state, market and civil society actors. It addresses their multilevel and multi-situated relations, in particular between national and local integration policies and translocal forms of policy learning and lobbying through transnational city networks. Integration is conceived as an open-ended process that takes place in the specific local contexts of small and medium sized cities that are examined in this project.  

Push forward knowledge on integration and community cohesion

The project will push forward knowledge and theorization on the dynamics and causal mechanisms that shape the complex relationship between immigrant integration policy and community cohesion.

Comparative approach

A comparative study with eight European Union countries and two non-European countries will be conducted (cross-country). At the same time also a comparison between 40 communities (cross-locality) will take place. The mixed-methods research design combines qualitative and quasi-experimental methods, a survey on attitudes, and quantitative analysis on the impact of policies on social cohesion and immigrants’ integration trajectories. 

Fresh impulse to policy debates

On the policy level, WHOLE-COMM provides a fresh impulse to policy debates thanks to the new comparative knowledge generated by the project and the engagement with a variety of actors in a structured process of policy learning and co-creation. Its overarching goal is to trigger innovation and building more cohesive and more resilient communities. 


WHOLE-COMM is a project in the H2020 work programme “Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” in response to the call “MIGRATION-04-2020: Inclusive and innovative practices for the integration of recently arrived migrants in local communities”. The consortium consists of 12 partners in Europe and is coordinated by Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy.

Strategy Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

This research project is aligned with the ambition of the ESSB strategy Meeting the Future Society to have a positive societal impact. It contributes to the inclusivity of cities, a theme that’s also a part of the strategic pillar and Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens. Dr. Maria Schiller is the theme lead of the sub-theme Inclusive Cities and Diversity.

More information

Marjolein Kooistra - Public Relations and Media


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