5-6 December 2019


The impact that social science research has on society is attracting increasing attention in public debate. Academic researchers are called upon to make their investigations relevant to the everyday needs of citizens, the economy, and organisations in the corporate, public and non-profit sectors. We live in challenging times for researchers and practitioners who seek to have an impact on the world. New technologies and socio-cultural and geopolitical developments have generated propaganda, fake news, misinformation and ideological manipulation. In many cases the very authority of science is under question, often being used as a vehicle for perception management and mis-management.

What is the social impact of social science in our time? How should we analyse and assess impact? What are the best ways for the epistemic communities of social scientists to respond to current challenges? How can one avoid the abuses of scientific authority, which contribute to propaganda and mass manipulation? How should social science communities deal with the confusion and turmoil created by propaganda? How can communities of social scientists increase the positive social impact of their research and findings?

The symposium is to be held in the center of the Romanian capital city, on the grounds of the University of Bucharest, 5-6 December 2019.

The Call for papers is available here.

The conference language will be English.


  • Dr. Tina Haux (University of Kent, UK) – “Social Impact in Perilous Times”

Dr. Tina Haux is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent. Her research interests include lone parents, welfare-to-work policies, poverty and social justice, parenting post separation, and research on influence and impact. Dr. Haux has recently published a book on ”The Dimensions of Impact in the Social Sciences”. Other projects include an ESRC funded study of shared care after separation, and a recent Nuffield Foundation funded project on parenting and contact before and after separation. Dr. Haux is a member of the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grant Funding Panel.


  •  Professor Liz Lightfoot (University of Minnesota, US) – “Refocusing doctoral education towards social impact ”

Elizabeth Lightfoot is a Professor and the Doctoral Program Director at the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work, and recently completed was a visiting Professor at the School of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Bucharest through a Fulbright Scholarship. Her current research focuses on the intersections of disability and child welfare, and she has conducted a number of studies about how the child welfare system impacts services to children and adults with disabilities. She has served as the President of the Group for the Advanced for Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE), the Secretary of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), and as a Board Member of the Council of Social Work Education, and recently won GADE’s Faculty Award for Leadership in Doctoral Education.

  • Corneliu Bjola (University of Oxford, UK) –  “Dismantling Echo-Chambers of Hate: The Case of Online Anti-Semitism”

Corneliu Bjola is Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford and Head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group. He also serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California and as a Professorial Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. He was a research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Defense Force Academy (2012) and China Foreign Affairs University (2016). He has served as a consultant or trainer for Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Diplomatic Academics in U.K., Germany, Spain, Israel, Lithuania, UAE, Armenia, Romania as well as for international organisations (UN Geneva, the Commonwealth).

  • Per Enerud (Communication expert at the EEAS East Stratcom Task Force in Brussels) – “Poisoning the Public Discourse. EU Combatting Disinformation to Protect Democracy”

 Swedish national, BA in Slavic Languages from University of Uppsala, Sweden, BA in Journalism from University of Stockholm, Sweden. Professional background in broadcast journalism. Bureau Chief of Swedish National Broadcaster SVT’s Moscow Bureau 1998 – 2002. Working in international organisations since 2008. Previously stationed in international missions in Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, Palestine and Ukraine. Press Councillor at the Embassy of Sweden in Moscow until November 2017. Author of two books on Swedish – Russian historical relations. Third book, a collection of Swedish diplomatic reporting from Russia 1917 – 1919, will be published early 2020.

Organizing committee

• Associate Professor Gaby Ramia, Public Policy Program, Department of Government and International Relations, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia; 2019 Visiting Professorial Fellow, ICUB, Romania.

• Professor Marian Zulean – Professor habil. and Director of the Division of Social Sciences, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), Romania.

• Dr Ioana Ramia, Lecturer and Research Fellow, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney; 2019 Visiting Fellow, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy, Romania.

• Professor Dragos Paul Aligica, Department of Economic and Administrative Sciences at the University of Bucharest and Senior Research Fellow at Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

• Diana Dumitrescu, PhD Candidate and Secretary, Division of Social Sciences, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), Romania.

Scientific committee of the ICUB Social Sciences Division

  • Prof. Univ. Marian Zulean (Division Coordinator)
  • Prof. Univ. Cosima Rughiniș (Faculty of Sociology and Social Work)
  • Prof. Univ. Simona Gherghina (Faculty of Law)
  • Lector Univ. Raluca Tomșa (Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences)
  • Lector Univ. Silvia Marton (Faculty of Political Sciences)
  • Prof. Univ. Elena Druică (Faculty of Public Administration)
  • Prof. Univ. Camelia Beciu (Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences)

Submissions are welcome for either individual paper presentations or whole panel sessions and workshops. Submissions from individuals or teams of researchers working with activists and/or practitioners are particularly encouraged, as are submissions from early career scholars. Attention will be paid to geographical diversity and diversity of theoretical perspective and methodology when compiling the program.

To submit an individual paper presentation for consideration, please email an abstract of no more than 200 words to by 1 November 2019. The abstract should be accompanied by:

  • Full contact information for all authors
  • Institutional affiliation (where available) for all authors
  • A biographical statement of no more than 5 lines for each author

To submit a proposal for a panel session, presentation or workshop, please email the following information to by 1 November 2019:

  • Panel/workshop title
  • Outline of the panel/workshop theme and details of planned activities or proposed presentations (as appropriate)
  • Full contact information for all authors and panel/workshop convenor(s)
  • Institutional affiliation (where available) for all authors and panel/workshop convenor(s)
  • A biographical statement of no more than 5 lines for each author and panel/workshop convenor(s)

The conference will take place in Bucharest, within the premises of University of Bucharest. The organizers do not cover the travel and accommodation costs for participants. More information on accommodation will be provided to the participants upon selection for the event.


There are non-stop flights to Bucharest from most major European cities and in the Middle-East and connecting flights from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Most international flights arrive at Henri Coanda (Otopeni) Airport.

Airport facilities include ATM, currency exchange office, Taxi Desk and car rental. The airport is connected with the city center by official taxis and express buses. Bucharest’s main train station – Gara de Nord – is a major rail centre with daily connections from/to cities throughout Europe and main cities in Romania. There are daily trains from/to Athens, Belgrade, Budapest, Istanbul, Kiev, Moscow, Prague, Sofia, and Vienna. Trains from/to Western European cities run via Budapest. Bucharest’s public transportation network includes: bus (“autobuz”), tram (“tramvai”), trolley bus (“troilebuz|), subway (“metrou”) and taxi (More information here).


Bucharest has a full range of accommodation facilities, at different rates and standards. We will provide our recommendation to the selected participants, at about 20-40 Euro/night.Visas. Citizens of virtually all European countries, as well as Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA, do not require visas to visit Romania for short-stays (up to 90 days). For citizens from other countries, visas are issued at Romanian consulates. The bearers of a visa with 2 or multiple entries, a long-term visa or a residence permit issued by Schengen Member States shall no longer be required to hold a short-stay visa. If you need an official invitation to get the visa, please contact the organisers well in advance (More information here.)

If you have any questions, please contact us at

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