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On our funding, independence and academic integrity

The Migration Observatory receives funding from a range of academic research grants, philanthropic organisations, and some consultancy. We have strict processes in place to ensure the integrity and impartiality of our work.  

Key points: 

  • We do not make policy recommendations 
  • We are transparent about how we have reached our conclusions 
  • We do not allow the source of funding to influence our findings 

The Migration Observatory does not make policy recommendations or seek to promote any specific set of policies. Our goal is to help our audiences understand the impacts of migration policies and form their own opinions, regardless of their political perspective or views on migration. We have done that. Our work has been cited broadly across the political spectrum. 

Impartiality is non-negotiable for the Migration Observatory and we will never accept funding from bodies that seek to influence our conclusions.  

The University of Oxford has robust procedures in place for accepting donations and research grants from a wide variety of sources, and for refusing donations and research grants that would undermine the University’s mission (see, for example, the University’s Donor Charter). The funding for the Migration Observatory has been so approved, and its researchers conduct their work with the high standards of academic integrity demanded of Oxford academic and research staff. 

The Migration Observatory has always been clear about its funders. It was initially set up with funding from Unbound Philanthropy, Barrow Cadbury Trust, and the Princess Diana of Wales Memorial Fund, as well as hosting particular projects funded by the ESRC and the University of Oxford Social Science Division through its Oxford University Press John Fell Fund. Over the years an array of philanthropic and academic funders have provided funding for us – for a complete list, visit our funders page here. These funding bodies have varying strategic goals for their grants – and these goals commonly change over time. Many also fund other organisations that are very different from our own. None of this has any influence on our overall mission. 

The Migration Observatory’s terms of reference, from the beginning, have been to provide an impartial, objective source of data and analysis on migration relevant to the UK debate. We are always transparent about how we have reached our conclusions, and what evidence and data we have relied on.  

All briefings and commentaries are subject to a stringent process of internal or external peer review. The Migration Observatory’s research plan and approach are overseen by an expert advisory board from inside and outside of academia.  

The Observatory has established strong research credentials, with original research and projects that have been recognised through the academic peer review process as attaining the highest standards of excellence in UK social science, and that are commonly cited in academic journals. 

It is crucial to the quality of the national debate on migration, and indeed to policy-making, that we have an independent, impartial source of evidence that can be used by all sides in the public debate on migration. We hope that NGOs as well as government departments, parliamentary committees, and media organisations, continue to benefit from our independent, reliable source of data and evidence on the migration debate.  

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This Migration Observatory is kindly supported by the following organisations.

  • University of Oxford logo
  • COMPAS logo
  • Esmee Fairbairn logo
  • Barrow Cadbury Trust logo
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation logo