European ministers have met in Malta to step up efforts to use research as a central tool in addressing the refugee crisis.
“Research and science can help by looking at the root causes for that migration, that displacement,” Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, told assembled research ministers earlier this month.
The EU's Horizon magazine reported that the event was designed to take forward plans for the EU-supported Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), the largest ever cross-Mediterranean research collaboration, which will look at issues around food and water.
Most current research is “done in destination countries”, said Octavio Quintana Trias of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, when it needed to “encompass origin, transit and destination countries”. This could shed light on the impact of EU initiatives and suggest policies for helping middle-class families, who make up the majority of migrants, remain in their home countries.
Participants in the meeting also called for increased dialogue over the BLUEMED initiative, which harnesses science to stimulate growth in ocean-related industries.