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We are delighted to announce a new three-year funding agreement with the IKEA Foundation to continue the research of the Refugee Economies Programme at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC). This new agreement, which provides £1.54 million, builds upon previous funding from the Foundation that enabled the Programme to undertake pioneering work on the economic lives of refugees.

The new funding will cover a series of research and related activities for the period 2021–24 that build on the Programme’s previous research on the socio-economic inclusion of refugees, based on participatory research methods. These activities focus on refugees in camps and cities in East Africa. In this region – as in other parts of the world – refugees face major challenges to economic participation, for example, due to legal barriers, the remoteness of refugee camps, and a lack of job or business opportunities.

The new grant will support four new areas of work, highlighted by the Programme’s previous research: Borders, mobility, and livelihoods; Shocks, vulnerability, and livelihoods; The politics of socio-economic rights; and a new Refugee-Led Research Hub (RLRH) hosted at the British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi, which will provide training, mentorship, and support to aspiring refugee researchers.

Collectively, these activities aim to produce original and impactful research, which will be shared with policy-makers, practitioners, and the general public, and help build the capacity of refugees to participate meaningfully in research. The ultimate aim is to influence international and national humanitarian policy and practice for the longer-term benefit of refugees globally.

“The Refugee Studies Centre’s innovative research will help develop practical solutions to empower refugees, in both camps and cities, to become self-sufficient. This will enable them to afford a better life for themselves and provide a brighter future for their children.”

Annemieke de Jong

Head of Portfolio, Refugee Livelihoods, at the IKEA Foundation

“Thanks to the IKEA Foundation, we will continue to undertake impactful research that supports the economic inclusion of refugees. This grant enables us to explore a range of emerging and policy-relevant themes, and to build the new Refugee-Led Research Hub in Nairobi, which will support refugees to participate in and lead research.”

Professor Alexander Betts

Principle Investigator, Refugee Economies Programme


Tamsin Kelk, Communications Officer, Refugee Studies Centre, + 44 (0)1865 281707,

Professor Alexander Betts, Refugee Studies Centre, +44 (0)1865 281727,


About the IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation is funded by INGKA Foundation, owner of the Ingka Group of companies. The IKEA Foundation is independent from the retail business with a sole focus on creating brighter lives on a liveable planet through philanthropy and grantmaking.