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Kick-start of ENIS network on international student mobility

On 5-6 October 2021, the kick-off meeting of the ENIS network (European Network on International Student Mobility: Connecting Research and Practice) took place online.  Chaired by Assistant Prof Christof Van Mol (Tilburg University), with Dr Nicolai Netz (DZHW) serving as Vice-Chair, and Dr Thais França as Grant Awarding Coordinator, the network ultimately aims to narrow the remaining gap between academic research, practice and policies in the area of international student mobility (ISM).

ENIS brings together approximately 170 members from different scientific disciplines, countries, and research communities, as well as ISM practitioners from international offices, institutional leaders, and different stakeholder organisations such as ACA and ACA members active with ISM at different levels. This group will, more specifically, work to boost the development of comparative and practical insights into ISM dynamics by bringing fragmented knowledge together. The main aim of the group is to generate new interdisciplinary and innovative empirical perspectives on ISM and to translate these into tangible recommendations for stakeholders. The network is funded under EU’s COST Action (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), for the period November 2021 – October 2025.

Activities are structured in five working groups, each dealing with various aspects and developments within ISM:

  1. General mobility patterns (global, at the macro level)
  2. Social inequality
  3. Social and cultural integration of international students
  4. Impact of ISM on labor market opportunities
  5. Connecting research and practice

At the kick-off meeting, as part of Working Groups chairs elections, Irina Ferencz, ACA Director, was elected to lead WG5 – Connecting research and practice, which will, building on the work of all the other working groups, put forward recommendations in response to current observations and shortcomings, such as:

  • that researchers often do not thoroughly elaborate on the potential implications of their findings for stakeholders’ daily practice.
  • that when such implications or recommendations are formulated, they are often not feasible for those who professionally engage with ISM on a daily basis.
  • that the academic research agenda is often not in tune with practitioners’ needs, because they currently do not have established fora to convey their experiences and research ideas to academic scholars.

Experienced colleagues from ACA member organisations – CMEPIUS (Slovenia), DAAD (Germany), HARNO (Estonia), Movetia (Switzerland), Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (Norway), RANNÍS (Iceland), SAIA (Slovakia), and TPF (Hungary), are participating in the network.