Dr. Irina Burlacu

Affiliated researcher

Research group(s):
6. Migration and Development
7. Social Protection

Social protection system is designed for one state solely; nevertheless, in "age of migration" people interact daily with different social security and fiscal systems. Dr. Irina Burlacu de Paoli is a researcher specialized in European comparative social policy with focus on mobility and free movement for work.

Professional background
Dr. Irina Burlacu de Paoli is currently a Lecturer (external) at the Center for European Studies, Maastricht Summer School. Also, since 2016 she is a founder and CEO of Researchista and 1# board game on fiscal education. Mobility Era Game is played in all EU countries, Ministries of Finance and Tax Inspectorates. It is a game played and endorsed by the National Research Fund of Luxembourg (FNR), World Economic Forum, European Commission and Forbes Council. Irina carries out research and consultancy work in at CReDO in social and health care policy in Moldova (involved in projects for Soros, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, European Union). For two years, Irina has been a Lecturer in Comparative Social Policy, Introduction to Social Policy, and Gender Studies, Moldova State University, as a teaching fellow of the Open Society Institute (Soros).

2009 – 2014, PhD in Public Policy and Policy Analysis, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht, the Netherlands /PhD thesis supervisor: Dr. Cathal O'Donoghue/.
2005 – 2006, MSc. in Comparative Social Policy Analysis, at CEPS/ INSTEAD, Differdange, Luxembourg and Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium /MA Thesis supervisor: Prof. Maurizio Ferrera/.
2001 - 2005, Bachelor in Sociology, Moldova State University, Chisinau, Moldova /BA Thesis supervisor: Prof. Marcela Dilion.

Students supervision:

  • MA thesis, Supervisor on topic: "Social Inclusion of Survivors of Abuse: Research into the improvement of the women's shelter system in the Netherlands" of Voorheijen, Anouk (to graduate in June, 2022)
  • MA thesis, Supervisor: "The role of the Eastern Partnership in strengthening the European identity" of Ion Cantea, (June, 2021).
  • MA thesis, Supervisor: "Pension inclusion in a mandatory privately funded pension system" of Nayeja Ngosi, (August, 2018).
  • BA Thesis Supervisor: "Harmonization and Immigration Policy and Post-National Citizenship in the European Union", University College of Maastricht, Winkel Anouk (June, 2014).
  • Second reader, MA thesis: "Competition for talent: Retaining Graduates in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine" of Julia Reinolds, (July, 2015).

Policy analysis/ Evaluations:

  • Social policy expert (February - April, 2018), "Migration and Transnational Social Protection in (post) crisis Europe, MiTSoPro: the case of Romania", University of Liege;
  • Social policy expert (December, 2016), "Cross-border Review : Expert meeting at the 4th Cross-border Review workshop of the DG Regio", European Commission;
  • Senior Researcher (May, 2016), "Study of Cross-Border Workers' Income Implications in Limburg. Social-fiscal policy and legal rules for x-border workers in NL-BE-DE", pilot, CBS/ITEM/ Province of Limburg.
  • Consultant, Round table, Survey results presentation "Sociological survey "Conflict mapping: relationships of populations on both bank of Nistru river:  4 years perspective", May, 2012;
  • Consultant, Data analyst and project manager of "Sociological survey "Conflict mapping: relationships of populations on both bank of Nistru river ", IV-th year of data collection, March-April, 2012;
  • Consultant, UNICEF-Moldova, "An evaluation of Child Friendly School Initiative", November 1st - January 31st, 2012;
  • Consultant  "Institutional Consultancy for the evaluation of the impact of child and family allowances on poverty and well-being of the most vulnerable families in the Republic of Moldova, in the context of transition for category-based to means-testing social assistance", UNICEF-Moldova, August, 2010;
  • Consultant "Evaluation methodology of social policies of the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child", UNICEF-Moldova, September - November, 2008; guide aproved by the Minister and applied by the Policy Monitoring and Evaluaton Unit from the MSPCF;
  • Consultant for the elaboration of the Research paper "Establishing accountability institutions in health care", World Bank - Moldova, 2008;
  • Assistant in Evaluating the services and products of National Bureau of Statistics, United Nations Development Program, September, 2008; aimed at institutional and budgetary reviewing;
  • Coordinator, Sociological survey "Conflict mapping: relationships of populations on both bank of Nistru river ", Institute for Peace PATRIR, August-October, 2008; "The use efficiency of Romanian language in bussiness sector", "Politicians about multilingualism" June - July, 2008, part of the project on  "Ethnical minorities in the context of national language policy ", Open Society Institute, February - April, 2008;
  • Coordinator of exit polls (4) on monitoring the corruption in health sector, in various medical institutions;
  • Feasability study "Health Care programs Opportunities Programs In Moldova. Case Study: Orhei School For Boys With Mental Disabilities"; Soros Foundation Moldova, September - November, 2007;
  • Gathering and analyzing secondary data, and working on strategic planning for the Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Children, March, 2007 - May, 2007;
  • Gathering and analyzing secondary data for the Ministry of Health of Moldova, December, 2006 - March, 2007;
  • Consultant for the Ministry of Social Policy, Child and Family Protection on "Policy Monitoring Regulation mechanism", that is going to be further aproved by the Minister and applied by all local implementation bodies in order to collect data for the  Policy Monitoring and Evaluaton Unit from the MSPCF;
  • Project Assistant "Building Partnerships: Public and Private", TRANSforma, the Netherlands, 2008-2009;
  • Project Assistant, "Monitoring Corruption In Health Sector", Threshold Country Program (TCP), Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) and the Academy for Educational Development (AED), Moldova, 2007-2009;
  • Module moderator of the online course "Sector Policy Analysis: Social, Health and Education sector", course hold within the project of "Building Partnerships: Public and Private", TRANSforma, the Netherlands, 2008;


Selected publications by Irina Burlacu

Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Burlacu, Irina, Cathal O'Donoghue & Denisa Maria Sologon, 2014, Hypothetical models, Contributions to Economic Analysis, 293: 23-46, DOI: 10.1108/S0573-855520140000293000, More information
Burlacu, Irina & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2014, “The impact of differential social security systems and taxation on the welfare of frontier workers in the EU”, Journal on Free Movement of Workers, Social Europe, European Commission, 7
Burlacu, Irina & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2013, The Impact of Unemployment of Welfare of Mobile Workers in the European Union, Journal of Regions and Cohesion, 3(2): 69-90, More information
Burlacu, Irina, 2007, Welfare State Regimes in Transition Countries: Romania and Moldova Compared, Central European University Political Science Journal, 2(3), More information

Book chapters
Burlacu, Irina, S. Soare & D. Vintila, 2020, Migrants' access to social protection in Romania, in: J.-M. Lafleur & D. Vintila (Eds.), Migration and Social Protection in Europe and Beyond (vol. 1): comparing access to welfare entitlements, Springer, Cham, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-51241-5, More information
Burlacu, Irina & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2015, Cross-border Social Security Coordination, Mobility of Labour and Pension Outcomes, in: Salagean I., Lomos C. & Hartung A. (Eds.), The young and the elderly at risk: Individual outcomes and contemporary policy challenges in European societies, Intersentia, UK, More information
Burlacu, Irina, 2014, Three-layered policy filter as a measurement tool for frontier workers’ welfare, in: Olenski J. (Ed.), Foundations of Transborder Economics and Statistics, Intersentia, UK
Burlacu, Irina, Cathal O'Donoghue & Denisa Maria Sologon, 2014, Hypothetical Models, in: Cathal O’Donoghue (ed.), Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling (Contributions to Economic Analysis, Volume 293), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, UK

UNU-MERIT Working Papers
Burlacu, Irina & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2012, Differential welfare state impacts for frontier working age families, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2012-061

External working papers
Burlacu, Irina & Chris de Neubourg, 2015, “Social assistance programmes, an overview on the European Union schemes for nationals, intra-EU mobile citizens and third country nationals”, The paper reviews main means-tested benefits or social assistance currently existing in the European Union, with particular focus on the treatment of married and cohabiting couples, as well as domestic versus mobile EU citizens
Burlacu, Irina, 2011, Applied rules in regulating welfare state interactions: how does social security coordination works for cross-borders, Socio-legal policy analysis of regulations regarding mobility for work in the EU, based on a paper presented at the 6th Social Science Conference, 'Social security coordination: post-Lisbon Treaty', Budapest, May 2011

Burlacu, Irina, 2014, Challenges and perspectives of free movement for work: an evaluation of differential tax-benefit systems on the welfare of frontier workers, PhD dissertation Maastricht University / United Nations University, More information