New! Open Research Laboratory


*Applications are now closed for 2017-2018.*


Researchers are invited to apply for Open Research Laboratory fellowships for policy-relevant research on Russian, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. ORL Fellows have access to the extensive holdings in the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection at the International and Area Studies Library and may receive one-on-one research assistance from the librarians of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS) to make sure that researchers not only find everything Illinois has to offer, but identify the most important sources elsewhere, as well.


  • Housing on campus up to 5 days.
  • Short term grants in support of your visit
  • Full access to the physical and electronic collections of the University of Illinois Library.
  • Supporting use of the Library’s technological resources, including advanced scanning equipment for the making of digital copies of books, microfilm, and other resources.
  • Consultations with the Slavic Reference Service.
  • Opportunities to participate in REEEC programming (lectures, workshops, conferences, etc.)
  • The help of REEEC staff and local scholars in answering logistical questions related to your stay.


Please note that only U.S. citizens may apply for housing and travel grants.

Housing Grants

Scholars participating in ORL may apply for up to 5 days of housing in Urbana-Champaign.

Travel Grants

Scholars may apply for travel stipends of up to $500 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign.


Scholars may apply for stipends of up to $500 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign.


All applicants are required to submit an online application, a research proposal and, if applying for funding, a clearly formulated statement of policy-relevance.

2017-2018 ORL Application


  1. When can I attend?
    The Open Research Lab (ORL) is designed to be flexible. You may attend at any time from August 27 to September 29, 2018. *Please note that the University will not be in session on September 3 for Labor Day.
  2. Is it difficult to acquire funding for ORL; how constrictive is the funding process?
    Funding for ORL is competitive. Eligible applicants with strong proposals are more likely to receive funding for their research. ORL awards are made by a committee of REEE scholars from the University of Illinois and external scholars with policy-relevant experience.
  3. What kind of funding is available?
    All ORL applicants must be U.S. citizens and are eligible for grants. Awards include travel up to $500, housing grants for up to 5 days, and a stipend of $500.
  4. Can I access any of the resources after I leave the lab?
    Yes! The Slavic Reference Service librarians are very adept at loaning circulating items through Inter-Library Loan (ILL).
  5. Why should I visit, if SRS is willing to loan so much material via ILL?
    ORL is a great opportunity to develop good relationships with the librarians at the Slavic Reference Service. They are ready to use their specialized knowledge to help you do research on your dissertation or research project. SRS librarians will work with ORL Fellows long after they leave ORL. Additionally, an in-person visit gives scholars the opportunity to access specialized materials that carry constraints due to particular governmental and copyright restrictions. Scholars who utilize ORL also have access to the main stacks at the University Library.
  6. Am I allowed to make digital copies of materials that I would like to take with me after I leave?
    Absolutely! You can create your own digital library of the resources acquired during ORL.
  7. Is ORL only for preliminary research, or does ORL have more in-depth resources that would cater to more specialized research?
    ORL can assist both preliminary and advanced stages of research. ORL also facilitates access to hard-to-find materials that are not located anywhere else in the US. This can be especially helpful to scholars who have done their preliminary work using more available resources.
  8. What are the library hours for the Slavic Reference Service?
    Slavic Reference Service hours correspond to the Main Library hours of operations. Please check the Library website for a full schedule of Library hours. When planning your trip to ORL, please be aware that the library will be closed on September 3 for Labor Day, and is open limited hours on weekends.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) at