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Alexandru Panican

Alexandru Panican in Långhuset's atrium.

Alexandru Panican is professor of social work. His research specialises in welfare issues and has demonstrated how various welfare systems reinforce problems.
“The education system and the activation of the young unemployed often lead to unemployment. For several decades, these systems have generated more of the same problem. The flaw lies in the systems, not the professionals’ competence.”

1968 Born in Bucharest, Romania

2007 Obtained his PhD in social work with his thesis Rättighet och Rättvisa - användbarhet av rättighet och rättvisa i sociala projekt, Lund University

2015 Docent 2015 in social work, Lund University

2024 Professor in social work, Örebro University


Alexandru Panican’s research consists of a broad, combined approach from his thesis to his empirical research pursuits. He studies poverty reduction, social assistance, and labour market policy, focusing on youth unemployment and the activation of the unemployed at the local level.

In recent years, he has expanded his research to include the validation of prior learning and professional research, focusing on the professionalisation of social work.

Welfare reinforces problems

Alexandru Panican’s interest in several research areas has allowed him to underscore how different welfare systems can reinforce problems, such as measures against youth unemployment.

“Sweden has had a constant high level of youth unemployment since the 1990s, often the highest among the Nordic countries. The reason is the unsuccessful transition from school to work every year. Many pupils leave school without upper secondary competence, which is the prerequisite for establishment on the labour market, as well as many opt-out of vocational programs that guarantee jobs,” notes Alexandru Panican.

The education system has been changed on several occasions but without any success. A significant share of youth become unemployed and must rely on social assistance for their upkeep. Support is conditioned on participation in activation measures that rarely lead to establishment in the regular labour market. One system – the education system – develops into unemployment, while another system – the activation of the unemployed – does not lead to work in the regular labour market.

“My motivation as a social science researcher is to discover, draw attention to, and analyse shortcomings in the Swedish welfare state, even though the Swedish model is exemplary in many ways.”

Targeting the poor – instead of poverty

Alexandru Panican applies a critical approach coupled with his curiosity about things that are taken for granted and that do not necessarily yield expected results – despite the efforts of politicians and professionals.

“I have shown that social policy sometimes actually reinforces what it intends to remedy. My research has shown that poverty alleviation programmes target the poor instead of addressing poverty.”

Alexandru Panican has led multidisciplinary research groups and several research projects. He has published at various levels and collaborated with researchers of different scientific profiles and contexts – in scientific articles, research reports, book chapters, and teaching materials. He has authored over 80 publications, with 45 since his promotion to Associate Professor in 2015.

“I believe it to be essential to interact with the surrounding community by, among other things, communicating my research results in many contexts.”

Until now, Alexandru Panican is entirely a Lund native.

“As Örebro University is my new higher education institution, I look forward to continuing successful research, teaching, and developing activities there.”