About the project

The AFAR project is a 4-year collaborative project, running from 2021 to 2025. It is led by Cathryn Costello, currently a Visiting Professor at the Hertie School. The project is based at the Centre for Fundamental Rights.  

The project includes five other institutions across Europe, with Professor Costello at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin; Professor Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Professor with special responsibilities in migration and refugee law, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen; Iris Goldner-Lang, Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb; Derya Ozkul, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford; and Martin Ruhs, Professor of Migration Studies and Deputy Director of the Migration Policy Centre, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute.

The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation in the frame of its "Challenges for Europe" programme. It will investigate the usages of  new technologies in migration and asylum governance, in particular the automation or part-automation of decisions normally taken by humans, as well as more complex machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, and related uses of digital identity mechanisms. 

At its heart, AFAR is an exploration of the concept of ‘fairness’ as a legal, normative and political concept. The project will explore fairness as a multidimensional concept, and consider whether existing legal standards appropriately institutionalise fairness, in particular when decision-making in these fields is increasingly automated.  The project includes workpackages to map the use of new technologies in migration and asylum in Europe; explore the evolving overlapping legal standards in this domain; consider how fairness perceptions impact on practices; and develop proposals to reform practices for fairness.