Since its very establishment in 1996, Desire Foundation conceived and conducted multidisciplinary research on social, gender and ethnic relations and inequalities viewed in their broader socio-economic and political context. These investigations were informed by a critical standpoint addressing power regimes from the point of view of actors placed in subordinated positions.

Some of our research also produced policy recommendations. Recently we aim at conducting participatory action research that might have a contribution to a social change serving the creation of an inclusive society and the empowerment of the actors subjected to marginalization and exclusion.


Institutions and Everyday Life in the City of Cluj/ Kolozsvár, 1996

An anthropological research done on the city’s political and cultural institutions and aspects of everyday life. It involved a group of students from Babeș–Bolyai University and four scholars. The yearlong study resulted in a data-base on Cluj and several case studies. The investigation was done with the support of Foundation Teleki from Budapest.


“Carpathian Project” – Inter-ethnic Relation in Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, 1997

A comparative research on interethnic relations in the Carpathian region, done in a co-operation with sociologists from Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest, and from Babeș–Bolyai University, Cluj, with the financial support of UNESCO


The Hungarian Educational System in Romania, 1998

An empirical research on Hungarian educational institutions from, including a survey and in-depth interviews. Financed by Illyés Foundation, Budapest


Representation of Inter-Ethnic Relations in Political Discourses and in Everyday Life, 2000

A team-research accomplished by sociologists and anthropologists from Babeș–Bolyai University, financed by the National Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation, Bucharest


Women and men in the multiethnic city of Cluj, 2000-2001

Conducted within the project “Partnership against Ethnic and Sexual Discrimination”, a one-year long program financed by the Resource Centre for Ethno-Cultural Diversity from Cluj, accomplished in a co-operation with the Foundation for Equal Opportunities for Women from Iasi, Romania. Included an empirical research on women’s and men’s condition in the multiethnic city of Cluj (consisting of a sociological survey, in-depth interviews, focus group and talk show), publication of the research results, and workshops in Cluj and Iasi. The program addressed the relationship between ethnicity and gender, and between ethnic and sexual discrimination. The research results were published in 2001 in Romanian in a book of three volumes at the Publishing House of Foundation Desire.


Reproduction, abortion and contraception, 2004

Anthropological research in Hunedoara county with the support of the Society for Contraceptive and Sexual Education from Cluj: Raport final 2004. This investigation was the starting point of another research conceived and conducted by Enikő Vincze, resulting in the book “Excluderea socială la intersecția dintre etnicitate, gen și clasă. Privire prin prisma sănătății reproductive a femeilor rome. Social exclusion at the crossroad of ethnicity, gender and class. A view from Romani women’s reproductive health (Cluj: EFES, 2006), and in the 55 minutes documentary film Red Poppies (both with the support of Institutional Fellowship Program at the Open Society Institute, 2005-2006). Out-coming policy brief available here: Reproductive Health of Roma Women

Between August and September 2007 the president of Foundation Desire acted as researcher in Timisoara  within the PHARE project “Strengthening the institutional capacity of Roma communities from Romania”. The outcome of this was a research report: Excluziunea socială a romilor. Studiu de caz din Timişoara

Between August 2008 and January 2009 she run a research on “Roma children’s access to school education and the phenomenon of school segregation in the school system of Timisoara”, resulting in the report: Accesul copiilor de etnie romă la educaţie şcolară de calitate şi fenomenul segregării în sistemul şcolar timişorean


Research conducted within the project “Equality through difference. Roma women’s access to the labor market”, November 2008 – October 2011

The project was funded by the European Social Fund and coordinated by the Association of Roma Women ‘For Our Children’ from Timișoara. In the consortium formed by six partner organizations Foundation Desire had an important role in conceiving and writing the project, and as well as in coordinating several project components: research, film, publications, trainings, information. The research results were published in 2011 in Romanian in the volume “Roma women’s and men’s access to decent work. Everyday life, policies and project in Romanian with a detailed English summary available here: Roma access decent work Romania


Faces and Causes of Roma marginalization. Tools and methods for evaluation and data collection (December 2012 – June 2013)

Coordinated by the Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Supported by United Nations Development Program, Bratislava. Foundation Desire acts in this research as the Romanian partner coordinating the investigations conducted in five counties, in a total of 25 localities. Details here. The contextual research is continued with Phase 3 aiming to explore the dynamics of inter-ethnic relations at local level in the social, economic, political, and cultural domains shaping Roma exclusion and the potential pathways to inclusion. The whole investigation is expected to end by July 2014. Project brief: Faces and Causes of Roma marginalization

Based on the long version of the final Romanian report accomplished in June 2013, a scholarly article with the title Mapping Roma Marginalization in Local Contexts was published in the Special issue of Studia UBB Sociologia (Volume 58 (LVIII) 2013, December, Issue 2), pp. 111–155, alongside with the first results of the SPAREX research on the Spatialization and racialization of social exclusion.  

Summary on the results of Phase 2 of the contextual inquiry Faces and causes of Roma marginalization. Tools and methods of data collection and evaluation. A joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Open Society Foundation’s Roma Initiatives Office (RIO) and the Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma Inclusion program, and the Central European University/Center for Policy Studies (CEU CPS). Coordinated in Romania by Foundation Desire. March 2014

Foundation Desire prepared for publication the Romanian language volume resulted from the Phase 2 of the contextual inquiry Faces and Causes of Marginalization of the Roma in Local Settings – Faces and causes of Roma marginalization. Tools and methods of data collection and evaluation, coordinated in Romania by our foundation: MARGINALIZAREA SOCIO-TERITORIALĂ A COMUNITĂȚILOR DE ROMI DIN ROMÂNIA. Studii de caz în județele Alba, Arad, Călărași, Dolj și Iași. (The socio-territorial marginalization of Roma communities in Romania. Case studies from Alba, Arad, Călărași, Dolj and Iași counties). Editors: Enikő Vincze and Iulia-Elena Hossu. The volume was published in June 2014 at EFES, Cluj-Napoca.

E-book edited by Julia Szalai and Violetta Zentai has been published by CEU CPS: Faces and Causes of Roma Marginalization in Local Contexts: Hungary, Romania, Serbia

The book resulted from the contextual inquiry about Roma marginalization conducted in three countries. Foundation Desire acted as implementing partner from Romania. The Center for Policy Studies at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary) led the research initiative with contributions from experts of the UNDP Bratislava Regional Center. Two thematic programs of the Open Society Foundations – the Roma Initiatives Office and the Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma program – have provided support and funding.

The country reports presented as chapters in this volume are based on the much longer, English language final reports drafted for Phase 2 on Hungary, Romania, and Serbia. These reports are available upon request from the local organizations that implemented the research in the three target countries. The report on Romania (refering to 25 localities where we have conducted the Phase 2 research) is available in Romanian in a book published at EFES Cluj-Napoca (online accesibility: Marginalizarea socio-teritorială a comunităţilor de romi din România).


Causes and Faces of Social Exclusion of the Roma in Local Communities (July 2013 – July 2014)

The research was run as Phase 3 of the Contextual inquiry to the UNDP/World Bank/EC Regional Roma Survey 2011, focusing on Hungary, Romania, Serbia. This was a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Open Society Foundation’s Roma Initiatives Office (RIO) and the Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma Inclusion program, and the Central European University/Center for Policy Studies (CEU CPS). Phase 3 was funded by the Foundation Open Society Institute and it was coordinated by Foundation Desiré from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The institutional partners of Foundation Desiré in this project were the Institute for Sociological Research at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, and the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

In each of the three countries the qualitative inquiry conducted by the means of family interviews was run in three localities (two towns and one village, all of them displaying residential areas inhabited by better-off, respectively by very impoverished Roma groups). Country reports and a comparative report were prepared at the end of the research, all of them relying on the analyses of knowledge about national and local level policies for Roma inclusion and most importantly on the interviews made with Roma and non-Roma family members. The Reports were structured around issues like the historical formation of “Roma segments” in the localities, crosscutting views about ethnic divisions in school and labor, views about “the other”, and experiences regarding Roma participation in public life and local development programs.

Some of the researchers acting on this project’s transnational team discussed their results at the conference of the Hungarian Sociological Association, organized at Babeș–Bolyai University from Cluj-Napoca between 27–29 November 2014, within the panel “Spatial exclusion and social inequalities” (panel conveners Tünde Virág and Enikő Vincze).

Moreover, a few of them prepared articles for a special issue of Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics with the topic “Production of marginality: spatial exclusion and development programs”.


RELOCAL: Resituating the local in cohesion and territorial development (2016–2020)

EU Horizon 2020 research project ‘Resituating the local in cohesion and territorial development’ – RELOCAL aims to identify factors that condition local accessibility of European policies, local abilities to articulate needs and equality claims and local capacities for exploiting European opportunity structures. It will be based on case studies of local contexts (cities and their regions) that exemplify development challenges in terms of spatial justice. Case study locations will thus be chosen to allow for a balanced representation of different institutional contexts.
RELOCAL case study reports available here:


Bloc For Housing – Action against labour exploitation and housing deprivation (2019)

Our project titled “The Block for Housing – Action against Labour Exploitation and Housing Deprivation” was carried out with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, between February and November 2019. Read here the presentation of the project and the summary of the militant research we organized in its frame.


ENHOJUST: For an antiracist environmental and housing justice (2021–2022)

“For an antiracist environmental and housing justice” (ENHOJUST) is an activist/militant research, which aims at the following: elaboration of the concept of antiracist environmental and housing justice by building connections between inadequate housing, toxic environment, racism, rights and justice; to reveal how environmental racism works via constraining people to be housed in toxic areas and use our knowledge in order to fight for antiracist environmental justice and to create alliances with ecologist groups from Romania and from abroad. The research took place between January 2021 – July 2022. Final project report: ENHOJUST: For an antiracist environmental and housing justice.