The Odysseus Academic Network is a network of legal experts in immigration and asylum in Europe. It was founded in 1999 by Philippe de Bruycker, Professor and researcher at the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), with the financial support of the European Commission. The network is a platform for the exchange of knowledge and expertise between academics, policy-makers, practitioners and NGOs in the field of immigration and asylum law and policy.
The network has an administration team based in Brussels and also brings together experts from all EU Members States (with the exception of Estonia), Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Turkey. Since 1999, the Odysseus Network has grown to include around 50 members. The network has created a pan-European community of researchers and experts in the field of EU immigration and asylum, and through this strengthened cooperation, it provides a comprehensive analysis of migration issues, both at the European and national levels.
The Odysseus Network has coordinated research projects on the EU Return Directive, alternatives to detention, and a comparative study on the transposition of ten EU directives by Member States, including directives on reception conditions, qualification, and family reunification. The network has also produced a number of publications on subjects such as vulnerability in EU law on asylum, subsidiary protection, and free movement of persons in the EU. Every year, a summer school is organised in Brussels on European immigration and asylum law and policy.
As part of the OMNIA project, which is funded by the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, the Odysseus Network will expand its activities to include a blog analysing recent developments in the field of immigration and asylum law and policy, a series of three annual policy conferences to be held in Brussels, e-learning modules and a virtual platform giving access to several databases. This will enhance cooperation between the members of the network, and will strengthen the links between this community of experts and policy makers. The OMNIA project will therefore increase the impact of academic research in the area of migration and asylum.