Irina Catrinel Crăciun studied psychology in Romania and first attended Freie Universität as a graduate student of health psychology. After receiving her doctorate, she worked in Romania as a scientist or project manager in various international cooperation projects on preventive health care, including one sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the health behavior of Romanian schoolchildren. Crăciun taught as an assistant professor at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The topic of her inaugural lecture draws on the last project that she conducted at Freie Universität Berlin between 2012 and 2014. It was sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and entitled "Resources for Positive Aging."
For more than three decades gender equality and the promotion of gender studies have been firmly rooted in Freie Universität Berlin’s conception of itself. They are therefore central features of the university’s institutional development strategy, which won the university excellence status in Germany’s federal and state excellence initiative for universities. Within this context Freie Universität Berlin established the International Network Professorship for Gender Studies. It has been advertised annually since 2013 and is awarded to an outstanding researcher in the field of gender studies. The professorship is a way of anchoring the international nature of gender research at Freie Universität. During the 2013/14 winter semester the visiting professorship was held by the Canadian political scientist and expert on Latin America, Prof. Dr. Verónica Schild from Western University London, Ontario. During the past winter semester it was held by the Iranian archaeologist Leila Papoli Yazdi.