Digital Platforms for Refugees and Migrants Sandbox

Leader: Walter Fernandez
Academic Members: Fethi Rabhi, UNSW Sydney; Sandeep Mysore Seshadrinath, UNSW Sydney; Olivera Marjanovic, University of Technology Sydney; Manuel Wiesche, Technical University of Munich; Maximilian Schreieck, Technical University of Munich


On arrival, refugees are dependent on timely information about the essential aspects of daily life in the host country. Accessing services such as the Internet, money transfer services, healthcare, children education, language, and reaching the relevant points of contact to transit the steps of the asylum process, presents a new challenge to already traumatised people. Unfortunately, the much-needed information is scattered across many stakeholders and thus inaccessible or confusing in the extreme. The Digital Platforms for Refugees Sandbox aims to facilitate the creation of digital ecosystems of digital services for refugees. Such an ecosystem will integrate and deliver information to refugees and to those organisations involved in supporting, employing, educating, and caring for refugees.

Participating Organizations (in alphabetical order): 

CORE Community Services (CORE CS)
CORE Community Services Ltd is a not for profit organisation that has been serving the communities of South West Sydney since 1979. CORE Community Services is dedicated to delivering evidence-based integrated services to create sustained changes in people’s lives. CORE work covers five key areas:

  • Children’s Services,
  • Youth Services,
  • Multicultural Communities,
  • Aged and Disability Care and
  • Community Engagement.

CORE Multicultural Communities (MC) is a member organisation of the NSW Settlement Partnership, a consortium of organisations that deliver settlement services in NSW. Funded through the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), CORE MC strives to improve people’s access to services and quality of life, address special settlement needs and help nurture people’s potential, skills, and the confidence that can enable them to be active and productive members of a multicultural Australian society.

CORE stands for Caring, Opportunity, Respect and Empowerment, values that guide CORE CS in the delivery of services, activities and programs to diverse communities. Governed by a volunteer board, CORE CS receives funding from all levels of government, philanthropic trusts, and individual donations.

Tür an Tür Digital Factory
The non-profit organisation Tür an Tür Digitalfabrik (Digital Factory) was founded in 2016 and has its headquarters in Augsburg, near Munich, in Germany. The Digital Factory aims to develop concepts and solutions that make digitalisation tangible in the context of integration, education, civic engagement and development aid.

The main project of the Digital Factory is the Integreat Platform. Integreat addresses the lack of information for newcomers, such as refugees and migrants, in a new country. Integreat is capable of breaking this information barrier through technology by giving a tool to integration experts to share their knowledge with a vast audience of newcomers. Integreat is a smartphone app and a website for newcomers to get all necessary information. The information is provided by local integration experts directly in the Integreat system, without the need for technological know-how.

The Digital Factory’s vision is to promote communication and understanding between cultures through digital solutions that facilitate and support local integration. Above all, the Digital Factory pursue effects-oriented goals, rather than financial interests.

Research Impact Statement

In consultation with key stakeholders, this research initiative has four key objectives:

  1. Identify informational needs and sources for the provision of services to refugees and host communities. Thus, co-creating a roadmap showing how to implement technologies that can improve the lives of the refugees and migrants, providing positive outcomes for them and the host communities.
  2. Expose the potential latent in information technologies to achieve synergy among diverse stakeholders; for example, local/state/federal government, companies, not-for-profit organisations, service providers, and education institutions.
  3. Help to develop applications can help refugees and migrants in the first few months in the host country, thus illustrating the benefits of digital platforms as integrating mechanisms that are feasible, transferable, and scalable.
  4. To develop conceptual frameworks to ensure the sustainable evolution of socio-technical collaborative solutions, including ideation, co-creation, and governance processes.