Irene Álvarez holds a PhD. in Social Sciences and Humanities from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa (UAM).
She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at El Colegio de México (COLMEX), where she is conducting an ethnographic study about the links between organized crime and civil society in the states of Guerrero and Michoacán, Mexico.
From 2017 to 2019, she served as a researcher for the project: "Assessing the potential for civil organizations within regions affected by criminal violence to hold state institutions to human rights-based development", sponsored by El Colegio de Michoacán, by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas and the University of Aberdeen. As part of this project, she did ethnographic research on citizen activism in areas affected by criminal violence; as well as evaluations of public policies regarding security and citizen participation.