The social complexity of immigration and diversity (SCID)

Ours has been dubbed the ‘age of migration’.

Immigration is a major political issue, with increasing media coverage, rising anti-immigration sentiment and the rise of anti-immigration political parties. The issue of migration sits centrally within the wider debate about ethnic and religious diversity and its effects on social cohesion. We are still, though, a long way from understanding these issues and their potential consequences. They seem to rest on beliefs about national identity and ethnicity, but cannot be divorced from the effects of social class, education, economic competition and inequality, as well as the influences of geographical and social segregation, social structures and institutions.

This project will integrate two very different disciplines, social science and complexity science, in order to gain new understanding of these complex, social issues. It will do this by building a series of computer simulation models of these social processes. One could think of these as serious versions of the Sims computer games, programmes that track the social interactions between many individuals. Such simulations allow ‘what if’ experiments to be performed so that a deeper understanding of the possible outcomes for the society as a whole can be established based on the interactions of many individuals.


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Grant amount


Manchester people

Institute for Social Change

  • Professor Nick Crossley
  • Professor Ed Fieldhouse
  • Dr Laurence Lessard-Phillips
  • Professor Yaojun Li
  • Dr Nick Shryane
  • Dr Huw Vasey

Theoretical Physics Group

  • Professor Alan McKane
  • Dr Louise Dyson
  • Dr Luis Fernandez Lafuerza

Centre for Policy Modelling

  • Professor Bruce Edmonds
  • Dr Ruth Meyer