January 25, 2008
By Kirk Sibbald
Immigration experts from the U of S will continue contributing to international initiatives as The Prairie Metropolis Centre (PMC) has secured funding for an additional five years.
The PMC is one of five centres across Canada involved in immigration research, all operating under the umbrella of an international research and public policy network known as The Metropolis Project. Established in 1996, the PMC is a consortium of six prairie universities: Alberta, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Regina, Winnipeg and Manitoba.
Terry Wotherspoon, U of S Sociology professor and member of the PMC board, said although the Metropolis Project in Canada was originally conceived with the immigration hotbeds of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as its main focus, the Prairie Centre was also established on the basis of its strong research partnerships. A centre was also created in the Atlantic region.
And, with an increasingly strained labour market, Wotherspoon said the organization’s focus on immigrant attraction, retention and integration has become especially relevant here in the West.
“There is a recognition that a lot of our immediate and future population needs are going to be met by immigration-related issues,” said Wotherspoon. “Some of the research that has been funded (by the Metropolis Project) recently has been around foreign credentials and related issues, which recently the federal government and provincial governments have picked up on. The focus is ultimately policy-relevant research. It has to tap into some policy issue for it to be successful, and that’s the intent of the whole project.”
Funding for the project comes from 14 federal government partners. Wotherspoon said the $1.5 million awarded to the PMC by SSHRC, as well as additional funds from partner organizations, for the project’s third phase will span five years.
Of the 120 researchers currently with the PMC, Wotherspoon said nearly 20 come from various disciplines at the U of S. Although members of the PMC often initiate their own research, collaboration among the regional and international centres is common, and researchers are also expected to work with community and policy partners.
Academics at the U of S with an interest in immigration are encouraged to apply for affiliation with the PMC. An application form can be downloaded from the PMC’s website, http://pmc.metropolis.net.