Elena Danescu is a Research Scientist at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), the University of Luxembourg’s third interdisciplinary research centre, which focuses on high-quality research, analysis and outreach in contemporary Luxembourgish and European history. She holds an accreditation to supervise PhD candidates in history (ADR) and is a supervisor for the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences (DSHSS).
She holds a PhD in Political Economics (1998) from the National Institute of Economic Research (INCE) of the Romanian Academy, with a thesis on the Luxembourg development model and the achievements of Pierre Werner. She also has a DEA postgraduate diploma in international, diplomatic and strategic relations from Paris III University and a Master’s degree in Economics from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies (ASE).
Elena Danescu began her research career at the National Institute of Economic Research of the Romanian Academy (INCE) in the interdisciplinary comparative research group investigating the transition to democracy of Central and Eastern European countries. In this capacity she contributed to the development of the strategy for the introduction of a market economy in Romania (1990). As a researcher and diplomat (an expert seconded to the Romanian Foreign Ministry), she then turned her focus to Europeanisation, the history of European integration and the Luxembourgish development model, helping prepare the strategy for Romania’s accession to the EU (1995) and analysing the “Community acquis”, while playing an active role in various diplomatic negotiations. During this period, she was involved in several international projects, networks and multilateral cultural diplomacy missions, particularly for UNESCO. From 1991 to 1998 she was a part-time lecturer at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE), teaching on Master-level courses and seminars on European and international organisations, the history of European integration, and economies and societies in transition. In 2009, she joined the European Integration Studies Department of the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe (CVCE), where she developed the interdisciplinary “Pierre Werner and Europe” research project (2011-2017) based on an exploration of the Werner family archives, opened for the first time for research purposes. She joined the University of Luxembourg on 1 July 2016.
Her research includes questions of contemporary European history, history of economic thought, Luxembourg and European integration, Economic and Monetary Union and economic governance, banking history, oral history, democratic transitions in Eastern European countries, and the EU’s eastward enlargement. She is the PI of two ongoing interdisciplinary research projects: “Competition, convergence, harmonisation – a comparative analysis of taxation in the Benelux states” (FISCOLUX: 2019-2023) and “Le rôle des femmes dans les relations européennes et internationales du Luxembourg” (RelINT_EULUX: 2021-2025) – a multimedia project that sets out to create new oral history sources. The interviews will be published on the University of Luxembourg’s research infrastructure and will also be shared with the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence and the European Parliamentary Research Service. In recent years she also successfully submitted two competitive public history projects for the University of Luxembourg, “Europe Direct Information Centre de l’Université du Luxembourg (2019-2021)” and “Europe Direct University of Luxembourg (2021-2025)”, both co-funded by the European Union. She manages the Europe Direct centre, which is geared towards a broad audience with the aim of informing students, researchers, teachers and the public about the European Union’s history and current affairs and reflecting on potential future challenges. It organises lectures, seminars, discussions and exhibitions and offers a wide range of information about the history of European integration, the EU institutions and the workings and policies of a united Europe.
Her current teaching activities include the courses “Histoire de la construction européenne (1919-1993)” and “Histoire économique et sociale de l’Europe après 1945 – concepts, processus, acteurs”, both part of the Master en Histoire européenne contemporaine (MAHEC), and “Transitions démocratiques en Europe centrale et orientale: histoire, mémoire(s), défis” for the Bachelor en Cultures européennes (BCE). In 2015 she began running the course « Le Luxembourg et l’intégration européenne » at the Luxembourg National Institute for Public Administration. Since 2017 she has supervised 9 Master’s students and 1 PhD student.
Elena Danescu has authored numerous publications in her areas of expertise. She regularly participates in the peer review process of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought (Cambridge Core), the Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge), and of the Journal of European Integration History (Nomos Verlag). Since 2015, she has been involved in the evaluation of interdisciplinary research projects submitted to COST Association, MIUR/ Italian Research Funding, and to the Robert Triffin International Foundation.
Since many years, she is an active member of several prestigious professional associations worldwide (EUSA, UACES, ESHET, AISPE, SOLEP). She is an elected member of the University Council (2018-2023), the Board of the Fondation du Mérite européen and the Council of the Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe.
Awards: In 2020 Elena Danescu was awarded the Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship in international relations by the European University Institute (Florence).