Migration researcher – is that even a profession?

I am often asked this question, and my answer is that Germany has become a country of migration. That is why a practice-related research approach to migration topics and contexts is an area of great current and future civil society importance – and that’s why I do this job!

My name is Philip Anderson and I am of Anglo-Indian extraction, have been resident in Germany for many years and now have dual English and German citizenship. Having studied history, I have been working as a freelance social scientist with my main focus on migration policy topics since 1994.

Since 2007 I have had a professorship for Community Orientation (Sozialraumrorientierung) and Intercultural Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg in the Social Sciences Faculty.
Since 1994 I have been involved in assorted social sciences projects, comprising a total of seven major research issues around migration and care of the aged.
I have continued to pursue these topics both in teaching and research contexts because of their ongoing relevance as social policy issues.

They are:

- Social and Labour market integration of asylum-seekers
- Integration of asylum-seekers in education and vocational training
· social policy issues for local authorities of Muslim communities in Germany
· undocumented migrants in London
· cultural competence skills and migrants’ access to social welfare and medical services
· the educational and social exclusion of refugee minors
· undocumented migrants in Germany
· the situation of migrant elders
· the specific problems faced by migrants with disabilities.

The Research Approach

Relevance to work in the field with labour migrants, refugees and asylum seekers has always been the guideline for my research studies. Projects are carried out on the basis of a method mix usually working from grounded theory (sifting of literature, semi-structured qualitative expert and subject interviews, development and refinement of research hypotheses) as a point of departure. The applied research character is as a rule underlined by the report structure of analysis followed by recommendations for policy makers and professionals in the relevant field of migration and integration.

Short CV

Basic Data: Philip Anderson, born 26.07.1957 in Kingswinford, England. English and German citizenship, of Anglo-Indian origin. Studied Modern History at the University of York, England from 1976-1979. BA Hons.

Resident in Munich, Germany since 1980.

September 1982-May 1987 Training and employment as an educator/care worker with multiply handicapped children at a school and care centre in Neuaubing near Munich.

May 1987-February 1994 Magister (M.A.) and PhD at the University of Munich (topic of the dissertation “Withdrawal with Honour” The Middle Eastern Policy of the British after the Suez Crisis 1957-1960” published in German, Klaus Schwarz Publishers 1994).

1994-2007 Work as a freelance social scientist specialising in migration topics as well as the care of the elderly.

Since 2007 Professor for Community Orientation and Intercultural Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg (Faculty of Social Sciences), southern Germany. Ongoing research in the migration field.

Both before and after doing my PhD in modern history in Munich I worked for many years in adult education as an English teacher, as a translator and interpreter (English-German) and as a lecturer on migration issues at the Catholic university of Applied Sciences in Munich. My five years’ experience as a care worker with handicapped children combined with my own intercultural background and experience of migration set the background against which I developed my research interest in migration, social work and intercultural gerontology issues.

Teaching/Areas of Qualification

In my seminars and lectures my focus is primarily on migration and integration topics at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg. In addition to this I am involved in building up international contacts with universities and research institutions abroad (2008-09 Universidad Complutense de Madrid; 2009-2010 University of Northumbria, Newcastle and University of Kingston in England), with all of which collaboration and exchange agreements have been signed (under the aegis of the ERASMUS programme).

Doctorate in modern History, social scientist specialising in migration and integration studies, service provision research and intercultural gerontology (since 1994). There is a strong practice-orientated focus in my research.

Involvement in working groups advising policy makers on putting recommendations from studies into practice. Consultation of administration, policy-makers and practitioners in the social affairs field. Seminars, lectures at conferences, presentation of results from practice-based research.

Networking with organisations and groups involved in migration and integration issues – with administration, policy-makers, media, charities, NGO s, experts and practitioners in the field.

Writing of articles and summaries on the research issues, presentations, expert opinions on migration topics on commission.

Project coordination (organisation, application for funding, empirical social research, conceptual development on migration issues, transfer of results of migration research, conducting of seminars etc.).

Translation and correction of specialist articles on social science issues. Interpreting at specialist conferences (English-German, German-English).

Research Projects

I have been working for many years as a social scientist based in Munich, though my projects have entailed stays in other locations such as London. The following is a brief summary of the most important of my research projects over the last few years.

· A Strategy with a range of practice-related recommendations based on the results of the current project on access to vocational training for young refugees was published by the City of Munich in summer 2016.

· February 2007 to September 2008: Project in collaboration with the Social Sciences Institute Munich (SIM) commissioned by the Dept. of Social Affairs of the City of Munich focusing on migrants with disability and the problems they face accessing health and welfare services. Final report with recommendations presented to the City of Munich council in December 2009.

· April 2005 to January 2007: Study commissioned by the City of Munich and the Caritas welfare organisation (Munich region) on the subject of migrant elders. Summer 2008 publication of study (“A little bit here and a little bit there” – Migrant Elders in Munich) with results and conclusions drawn by the City of Munich from them.

· January 2004 to October 2004 Production of brochure on Muslim Life in Munich commissioned by the Department of Social Affairs of the City of Munich (edited by Dr. Margret Spohn).

· Qualitative Research project on care of the dying in care and residential homes commissioned by the charity organisation Arbeiterwohlfahrt. Publication of results with qualitative best practice standards in summer 2004.

· May 2001 to September 2003 project on the social, medical and human rights of undocumented migrants in Munich commissioned by the City of Munich. Study “…That you don’t forget us..” People in Illegality in Munich, published with comprehensive recommendations August 2003.

· May 2001 to January 2003 participation in project funded by the German Research Association (DFG) with the title “Service Work as Interaction” (focus on care of the aged), collaboration between Technical University of Chemnitz (project head Prof. Dr. Günther Voß) and the charity Arbeiterwohlfahrt (regional organisation Upper Bavaria, headed by Dr. Wolfgang Dunkel). Person-related service provision quality and interaction were compared in three areas: the German railways, geriatric residential care and the call centre of a direct bank.



For list of publications see “Publikationen”. Most of my publications are in German, although I have been involved in international collaborative projects, e.g. research on the undocumented in London for the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1997-1999.


Recent pubications and interviews in English:

To be published soon:
Article “From ‘Guest Workers’ to ‘Welcoming Culture’ – Germany and Migration”. Publication by German United Nations Association, Germany, in cooperation with University of Warsaw, Poland, a comparative essay collection on German-Polish relations.

January 2019 Article in collection of essays published by Loyola University, Chicago USA: „Unaccompanied Refugee Children and Adolescents and Access to Vocational Training in Germany – with a Focus on Bavaria“ ( Loyola University) in: Hille Haker/Molly Greening (Hrsg.) „Unaccompanied Migrant Children“. Boulder/New York (Lexington) 2019, S. 63-74.

1.11.2018 Radio Interview on the UN Migration Pact:

October 2018. “Chances for young refugees: On access to vocational training and the dynamics of labour market integration for young refugees in Germany”. In: “People on the Move. Advancing the Discourse on Migration and Jobs.”  Publication of the Just Jobs Network, Washington DC, USA. Download PDF

May 2018 Article “Education of Refugee-background Youth in Germany: Systemic Barriers to Equitable Participation in the Vocational Education System” (with Dr. Annette Korntheuer, Prof. Dr. Joachim Schroeder und Dr. Maren Gag) in: Shapiro, Shawna/Farrelly, Raichle/Curry, Mary Jane (Editor): Educating Refugee-background Students. Critical Issues and Dynamic Contexts. Bristol UK 2018, S. 191-207.