The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration is based on an initiative of the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation. The initiative includes seven member foundations. In addition to the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation, the member foundations are: Bertelsmann Stiftung, Freudenberg Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and Vodafone Foundation Germany.
The Expert Council
Expert Advice on Migration and Integration
History of the Expert Council
The foundation initiative
The initiative to form the Expert Council was undertaken by the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation in 2008, and was joined by six other well-known German foundations with the aim of jointly supporting the SVR. At the time, this kind of alliance among foundations was a novelty. The initiative was based on the finding that an independent institution for research-based policy advice is needed in this complex and highly emotional field.
Formation of the Expert Council
The goal and mission of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) is to provide research-based and practically oriented policy advice in the field of integration and migration as well as to provide critical policy support. Every spring, the SVR publishes an annual report which analyses trends in integration and migration and provides concrete recommendations and options for action.
The interdisciplinary Expert Council is made up of nine professors who have proven expertise in integration and migration in their field. The founding chairman was the renowned migration researcher Prof. Dr. Klaus J. Bade. The new institution was presented at a press conference in Berlin in October 2008.
Documents on the formation of the Expert Council – Press conference on 15 October 2008 in Berlin:
Work at the SVR office gets underway
The office that supports the Expert Council’s work opened its doors in Berlin on 1 January 2009. It was staffed with four researchers and was headed up by the Managing Director Dr. Gunilla Fincke. The first study on securing skilled workers through immigration entitled “Qualification and Migration: Potential and HR Policy in Germany as an ‘Enterprise’” (available only in German) was published already in May 2009. The Expert Council’s first Annual Report, a 250-page fundamental work on integration policy, was published in May 2010. The Integration Barometer which was developed by the SVR to gauge the integration climate in Germany, was part of this Annual Report for the first time. The Integration Barometer is unique because it surveys people with and without a migration background to capture the perceptions and assessments of both sides of the immigration society. Other annual reports that dealt with issues related to international migration (2011), integration in the federal system (2012), EU internal migration (2013) and Germany’s transformation to a modern immigration country (2014) followed in succession.
Formation of the Expert Council’s Research Unit
In November 2011 the Expert Council’s Research Unit was set up to enhance the SVR’s work. It conducts independent, practically oriented research projects in integration and migration. One focus of these projects is education. Basic financing for the research unit is provided by the Stiftung Mercator. Individual studies and research projects have been and are currently being funded, for example, by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the Vodafone Foundation Germany. The Expert Council’s Research Unit also writes expertises for external clients including state and federal ministries, think tanks and international government organisations.
Five Years of the Expert Council
Prof. Dr. Christine Langenfeld takes over as Chairwoman of the Expert Council
In July 2012 Prof. Dr. Christine Langenfeld took over as Chairwoman of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration. She is a law professor and has been part of the SVR since its inception. On 8 July 2016, the German Bundesrat elected Prof. Christine Langenfeld’s to serve as a Justice on the German Federal Constitutional Court and, as a result, Prof. Dr. Hacı Halil Uslucan has provisionally assumed the role of Chairman of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration.
Dr. Cornelia Schu becomes SVR’s Managing Director
Another change occurred at the top of the SVR office in 2014. Dr. Cornelia Schu took over as the SVR’s Managing Director on June 1. Approx. 20 permanent employees and project staff currently work in the SVR office.
The supporting foundations
Since its formation, the SVR has been supported by a broad consortium of foundations:
Stiftung Mercator (since 2008)