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Migration is complex and uncertain. To be effective, migration policies need to explicitly acknowledge these two features of contemporary mobility. This is especially crucial as migration remains a top policy priority area across Europe, with many policy actions being proposed and implemented for different types of flows on the voluntary-forced migration continuum.


Comprehensive quantitative scenarios offer an excellent analytical tool for exploring different migration futures, as long as they explicitly acknowledge the complexity and uncertainty of the processes they aim to represent. Preparedness for various migration contingencies requires using appropriate analytical tools for addressing the challenges posed by the barely predictable nature of migration flows. Such tools need to be characterised by high levels of both conceptual and technical sophistication, and at the same time, their results need to be easy to comprehend and communicate to facilitate uptake by stakeholders. Drawing on the unique expertise of its consortium members, QuantMig will deliver such tools, providing bespoke solutions for describing, explaining and managing migration.


The project will achieve its overarching aim by advancing the methodology of scenario generation and by furthering the understanding of conceptual foundations of European migration flows. The knowledge base for scenarios will include a comprehensive review of key migration drivers in origin, destination and transit countries, with particular focus on mobility of third-country nationals, various aspects and stages of migrant decision making, and on the characteristics of prospective migrants. Additionally, we will derive a distinctive set of custom-made harmonised statistical estimates of migration flows. We will also develop and apply rigorous and innovative methods for simulating migration flows, describing scenario uncertainty, and providing early warnings.

Specific objectives and work packages

The eleven specific objectives of QuantMig and the associated work packages (WPs) are as follows:

Objective 1. To review the state of the art in forward-looking analysis of the ever-evolving migration processes, and to build a unique and comprehensive framework for the conceptual foundations of quantitative scenarios (WP1).

Objective 2. To carry out a comprehensive analysis of the drivers of European migration, providing input for scenarios from the point of view of the origin countries, with focus on the multifaceted nature of flows and their drivers, across the different levels, from macro to micro (WP2).

Objective 3. To examine migrant ‘pull’ factors at the countries of destination taking into account the inter-dependencies between destinations, as well as the impact of traditional economic and non-economic drivers (WP3).

Objective 4. To assess the drivers of migration within Europe, with a special focus on third-country nationals, their onward mobility, temporary and transit migration, and the types of European regions with respect to their migration patterns (WP4).

Objective 5. To collate available data on European migration, mobility and its drivers, and provide a dedicated quality assessment, aiming to describe the patterns and dynamics over the period 1990-2020 (WP5).

Objective 6. To develop a method for estimating European migration flows based on the available data, with uncertainty assessment, and to apply it to creating a custom-made, harmonised dataset (WP6).

Objective 7. To develop plausible scenarios of future migration into and within Europe based on the information on drivers, to assess their probability based on expert opinions elicited via a vignette study (WP7).

Objective 8. To build and test a dynamic microsimulation model for future European migration to guide policy response to future demographic shifts, and create a model environment for generating and analysing what-if scenarios (WP8).

Objective 9. To develop innovative methodology for dealing with migration uncertainty across a range of time horizons, from early warnings for the short-term migration events, to uncertain scenarios over longer time perspectives (WP9).

Objective 10. To integrate the other results of the project by developing tools for providing specific policy and planning simulations and visualisation tools, and to prepare scenario results for online dissemination (WP10).

Objective 11. To effectively disseminate the findings of QuantMig through a variety of communication channels, including a dedicated app, policy events and webinars, ensuring a lasting online presence and legacy of the project (WP11).

These eleven objectives, facilitated by a dedicated management and communication work package (WP12), will also underpin the impact and exploitation plans and specific impact generating activities. By developing the scenarios in continuous dialogue with key users and stakeholders, QuantMig will deliver a range of tools, which are directly applicable to policy support. The outputs – open data and models, accessible interactive tools and visualisations, and a range of simulations for migration policy and planning – will ensure significant impact and a lasting project legacy.

A more detailed project summary is available using the link below.

  Download our project summary

This work has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 870299 QuantMig: Quantifying Migration Scenarios for Better Policy. This document reflects the authors'view and the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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