Research Programme


Migration is perhaps the hottest topic in European politics today. After years of ‘refugee crisis’ and anti-immigrant populist backlash, it has become a key area of academic research, mostly revolving around the interface between migration and populism. This is certainly a valuable agenda and one which debate can and still should build upon. In its Migration research programme, however, the 89 Initiative is concerned with exploring how decision making dynamics shape migration policy. Our research project specifically revolves around current EU legislation on asylum policies, especially in the areas of status determination and content of status (Qualification Regulation), asylum procedures (Asylum Procedures Regulation) and reception conditions for asylum-seekers (Reception Conditions Directive). It tries to understand why the EU is struggling to adopt these policies and what the positions of individual Member States are. Moreover, it assesses whether policies currently under discussion are more liberal or more restrictive than previous policies in the same areas and what the role of politicisation (populism) is in this regard.

Dr. Joseph Downing

Research Director

Dr Joseph Downing is LSE Fellow in nationalism where he teaches courses on global security, migration policy, minority rights and qualitative research methods. He was previously Marie-Curie fellow at the CNRS, Marseille and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London where he conducted a project on the discourses created about British and French Muslims on Twitter.

He has published widely on politics, security and integration in France, concentrating on minority communities. He has also been widely consulted by broadcast and print media and strategic consultancy companies regarding migration, security and terrorism with European focus. Joseph Downing received his PhD from the European Institute, London School of Economics in 2014. His thesis ‘Between Policy, Recognition and Rioting: Analyzing the role of urban governance, historical commemoration and public culture in defining inclusion in Marseille, Paris and Lyon’ involved significant fieldwork in France.

Dr. Katerina Glyniadaki

Research Director

Katerina Glyniadaki is a Teaching Fellow on the European Institute’s (LSE) MSc International Migration and Public Policy programme. Between 2015 and 2019, she was a PhD Candidate at the Institute. Her PhD thesis examined how those at the front lines of migration management in Athens, Greece, and Berlin, Germany, make decisions under conditions of high uncertainty. Her research uses a qualitative methodological approach and combines theoretical perspectives from public administration and social psychology. More generally, Katerina is interested in how migration policies related to asylum determination and migrant integration are carried out in practice and what the role of human discretion during this process is.

Katerina also holds an MPhil in Social Psychology from the University of Cambridge, an MA in Sociology from the University of California, Riverside, and a BA in Communication Studies from the University of California, Riverside.



Maria Luisa Quiñones

Research Officer

Claudia Doldo

Research Officer

Nele Anders

Research Officer

Stella Pitsillidou

Research Officer

Europe 2025

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