Dr Roxana Barbulescu

Dr Roxana Barbulescu


I am an Associate Professor in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, UK. My area of expertise focuses on migrant communities and practices of migration and mobility—more specifically, migrant rights; citizenship, integration, and belonging; newly arrived migrants, asylum seekers, and refugee communities and borders and nations. I am a qualitative researcher with an interest in impact and egagement with research.

I have received a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (2023). Prior to joining the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds in 2016, I was  Research Fellow at the ESRC Centre for Population Change at the University of Southampton (2015) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the College of Europe (Natolin Campus) (2014) and Research Fellow at the Institute for International Development SID at University of Sheffield, UK (2012-13). I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the European Union Centre for Excellence at the University of Montreal (EUCE, 2014), and CEACS Juan March Foundation in Spain (2010), University of Trento, Italy (2009), and Visiting Fellow with the research group GRITIM, the University of Pompeu Fabra (2011)

My work has been published in international peer reviewed journals including International Migration, Migration Studies, Mediterranean Politics and three books Migrant Iintegration in Changing Europe, Immigrants, European Citizenship and Co-Ethnics in Italy and Spain (research monograph, Notre Dame University Press 2019), Everyday Europe. Social Transnationalism in an Unsettled Continent (2019 Bristol: Policy Press, with Recchi Ettore, Adrian Favell, Fulya Apaydin,  Michael Braun, Irina Ciornei, Nail Cunningham, Juan Diez Medrano, Deniz Neriman Duru, Laurie Hanquinet, Janne Solgaard Jensen, Steffan Poetzchke, David Reimer, Justyna Salamonska, Mike Savage and Albert Varela.) and Revising the Integration-Citizenship Nexus in Europe. Sites, Policies and Bureaucracies of Belonging. IMISCOE Research Series, Springer. Open Access. (2023 with Sara Wallace Goodman and Luicy Pedroza).

My first book Migrant Integration in a Changing Europe. Immigrants, European Citizens and Co-ethnics in Italy and Spain (University of Notre Dame Press, Kellog Institute for Democracy series, December 2019) is comparative in approach and seeks to explain migrant integration strategies across national, regional, and city-levels and was reviewed in International Migration Review and Population. I argue that societies pursue no one-size-fits-all strategy for the integration of migrants, but rather simultaneously pursue multiple strategies that vary by category and which sit on a spectrum of multiculturalism to neoassimilation. In doing so, societies, ascribe integration duties that are inversely correlated with rights and social inequalities, posing high duties and few rights on the most socially disadvantaged categories while freeing from integration duties and accruing more rights to those better off. Edited with Professor Sara Wallace Goodman (University of Califonia Irvine) and Professor Luicy Pedroza (Colegio de Mexico), Revising the Integration-Citizenship Nexus in Europe. Sites, Policies and Bureaucracies of Belonging  revisits and revises the citizenship-integration nexus by questioning the assumptions built into its theoretical and empirical framework. This includes, at least, three: first, questioning citizenship as a vehicle of incorporation by examining instead situated lived experiences of belonging of migrant communities in their eviroments. Second, examining the policies and the role of of bureucracies of belonging in formalised processes of citizenship acquisition. Third, considering the citizenship premium, that is, the boost to income and access to employment which follows the naturalisation and its mitigating effect for communities.

Ongoing and recent research projects:

ESRC – Feeding the Nation  Seasonal workers and food security (ES/V015257/1, £311,811) is a collaboration with Prof Carlos Varga Silva (University of Oxford COMPAS Co-I) and Dr Bethany Robertson (PDRA) and Roxana Barbulescu (PI) and it was developed with key impact partners DEFRA and the charity New Europeans UK (e.g. co-produced multimedia, multi-language informational materials to empower migrants ) In this project I have examined seasonal agricultural migration in advanced economies, and the dependencies and tensions that emerge between migrants’ dreams and aspirations, ethical migration recruitment and labour shortages that make up our food. The project uses an arts-based approch to engage with wider audience. Artistic illustrator Sarah Hannis has developed illustrations from video-diaries kept by migrants and led to three exhibitions at the Museum of English Rural Life (Migrant Workers. The Rasberry Planter; Summer on a Strawberry Farm; Hidden Rural Mobilities  Curator Dr Ollie Douglas) With folk duo Peddler // Russell a song was co-produced with the fond being lauched at the Sidmouth Festival Folk Festival in East Devon. Visit project website for interactive resources and new developemnts of this project here

Low Pay Commission  ‘Accommodation Offset, National Minimum Wage and Migrant Workers’, Dr Roxana Barbulescu (PI) and Dr Bethany Robertson (Co-I) September 2022-December 2022,  £12,000

ESRC IAA, Seasonal workers and low skilled migration – global regimes and international best Practices, £8,944  Dr Roxana Barbulescu (PI)

ESRC Northern Exposure: Race, Nation and Disaffection in "Ordinary" Towns and Cities after Brexit, January 2020-May 2022, Co-Investigator Dr Roxana Barbulescu (ES/S007717/1 £750,000)

Food Standards Agency Impact of labour shortages in food systems, September 2021-March 2022, value £48,700 Co-Investigator Dr Roxana Barbulescu

Research England Visual methodologies to study ‘integration’ in a declining cities,  in partnership with Runnymede Trust, Research England, January-March 2020, Dr Roxana Barbulescu PI value £4865

ESRC IAA ‘Brexit and its Impact on Diversity and Community Relations in Northern Towns’ (PI together with Adrian Favell) University of Leeds, March 2017-March 2018. PI Adrian Favell, Co-Investigator Dr Roxana Barbulescu
Principle Investigators: Adrian Favell and Roxana Barbulescu, value ESRC IAA, £14, 113 (project website http://cers.leeds.ac.uk/commission-on-diversity-in-northern-towns/ )

ESRC Postdoctoral fellowship Dr Marketa Dolezolova (PhD) University of Manchester £38,700 Roma in Northern England: Creating Interventions towards a Better Quality of Life .Dr Roxana Barbulescu Mentor

Center  for  the  Study  of  Democratic  Citizenship  (CSDC),C University of Montreal Canada,  ‘Mapping Anti-Roma prejudice in European Union’ MARP, September 2014-May 2015
PI Laurie Beaudonnet and Co-I Allison Harell, value  CAD 15,000.

Professional Service

I serve as BSA Study Group Convenor Migration, Diaspora and Transnationalism, Associate at the ESRC Centre for Population Research, IMISCOE Standing Committee on Migration, Citizenship and Political ResearchRomanian Network for Migration Studies and EUI GLOBACIT Citizenship Observatory.

I sit on the Editorial board of Racial and Ethnic Studies and Advisory Board of Comparative Migration Studies,  I am a member of the UK Peer Review College has served as evaluator for various funding agencies including ESRC (UK), Horizon 2020 (EU), DAAD (Germany) and Agencia Espanola de la Investigacion (Spain), Czech Science Foundation (Czech republic).  In 2022, I was awarded the Ramon y Cajal Award (Spain).



  • Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Research interests


Media coverage and contributions:


ITV Calendar (2023)

BBC News Channel live (26/11/18, 2.20pm)
Interview on the impact of Brexit on migration and local communities in the North of England. 


BBC World News ( August 2022)

BBC Radio 5 Live (26/11/18, 6.15pm)


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies
  • Leeds Social Science Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>