Summer Research Laboratory

Update on the 2020 Summer Research Laboratory (SRL):

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Illinois has suspended all in-person summer programming on our campus. It thus will not be possible to host the Lab in person this year. In consultation with colleagues and our program officer at the US Department of State, we are considering other options.  

Our goal, as always, remains to provide you with the most effective support in advancing your research on the REEES region. To that end, we are working with our colleagues at Illinois’ Slavic Reference Service to provide expanded virtual research support for this summer. We hope to pass along more details about that soon.

Thank you in advance for your attention and consideration. Although we are sad not to be able to meet with you in-person this summer, we hope it treats you well, and look forward to being in touch soon about the year to come.

Although we regret that this pandemic is keeping us physically apart, we hope that all of you are safe and well, and that we may resume our scholarly community soon, here or online.

Please feel free to contact us at should you have any questions or concerns.


June 15 – August 9, 2020

*Call for Applications*
Application Deadline Extended: February 17, 2020


The Summer Research Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia (SRL) invites applications for the upcoming 2020 session. This year’s lab will open on June 15 and continue through August 9. During this time, we encourage researchers to visit Urbana-Champaign, enjoy convenient housing on the Illinois campus, and use the unparalleled research collections and databases offered by our University Library. The skilled librarians of our Slavic Reference Service will be available for consultations, to make sure that you not only find everything Illinois has to offer, but also identify the most important sources elsewhere. Thus, whether you are beginning a new project or finishing an old one, a visit to the SRL provides a great opportunity to get important work done.

Established over four decades ago, the SRL has from its inception sought to make first-class research resources available to the broadest possible community of scholars. Our top-five research Library holds one of North America’s largest collections of contemporary and historical materials on the REEES region, in a broad range of languages and formats. For generations, scholars preparing for fieldwork have found a visit to SRL an invaluable way to exhaust US-based resources so as to make more efficient plans for their visits to libraries and archives abroad. In addition, each year we host a range of research and training workshops, discussion groups, and conferences during the first month of our Lab. These allow Lab participants to learn more about ongoing research in a variety of disciplines and create networks for their own professional development.

A pleasant college town in East Central Illinois, Urbana-Champaign offers a peaceful work environment for the summer. Its amenities include numerous restaurants, cafes, and breweries, a vibrant weekly farmer’s market, and excellent recreational facilities on campus. Bicyclers love to ride in the surrounding countryside, while hikers and kayakers have access to Kickapoo State Park, a riverine landscape that is about a 45 minute drive away. Chicago, one of the world’s great cities, is a little over two hours away by car, with daily trains and buses making the connection as well.

SRL applicants are also encouraged to consider studying an area language at Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop, located in nearby Bloomington, IN, whether immediately before or after their participation in the SRL. Funding in the form of Title VIII fellowships and other sources is available to eligible applicants. Those interested in overseas language study are particularly encouraged to pair SRL participation with an application for an IU Title VIII Overseas Fellowship. More information and the application can be found at the Summer Language Workshop website.

The Annual Meeting of the Midwest Slavic & Eurasian Librarians’ Consortium (MSELC) is held in conjunction with the SRL each year in early June. This is an opportunity for librarians, catalogers, and other library professionals working with REEE collections around the Midwest to learn from each other, attend workshops on library topics, and develop collaborative responses to the latest issues in the field. Participation is supported by endowed Library funds. For more information, please contact Kit Condill (



  • Inexpensive housing on the University of Illinois campus. Please note that most of the housing offered at the SRL is shared. Single rooms will be available at an additional cost.
  • Short-term grants in support of your visit, made possible by generous support by the Department of State’s Title VIII program (see below).
  • 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.
  • Workshops, film nights, and other opportunities to meet other scholars and researchers.
  • The help of REEEC staff and local scholars in answering logistical questions related to your stay.


Due to a change in funding for SRL, we have revised our grant guidelines and eligibility requirements. Before submitting an application, please read the Grants page carefully. Please note that only U.S. citizens may apply for Title VIII housing and travel grants, and research stipends.

Housing Grants

Scholars participating in the SRL may apply for up to 12 days of on-campus housing at the shared rate.

Travel Grants

Scholars may apply for travel grants of up to $500 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign. Eligible expenses are restricted to travel to and from Champaign-Urbana. Award recipients must provide appropriate receipts to receive reimbursement.

Research Stipends

Scholars may apply for generous research stipends of up to $1000 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign. To be eligible for a research stipend, scholars must stay for at least 5 days.

Other Grants

A limited amount of funding may be available for international applicants.

Faculty and graduate students who are citizens of Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kosovo, Laos, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Palestine, Serbia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, or Uzbekistan may consider applying to the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Scholar Awards to secure additional funding.

For programming information, click on Lab Programs in the right sidebar.


All applicants are required to submit an online application, a research proposal and, if applying for Title VIII funding, a clearly formulated statement of policy relevance. For more details on application requirements, please select the SRL Application tab in the right sidebar. Please fill out this application in one sitting, and please have your supporting documents ready to upload.

2020 SRL Application


  1. Do I have to attend all summer?
    No, the Summer Research Lab (SRL) is designed to be flexible. You may attend at any time while the SRL is in session.
  2. I’m not sure how long I want to stay; how should I go about planning my stay at the SRL?
    Err on the conservative side when deciding how long you wish to stay at the SRL. It is always easier for us to add days to your account than subtract them. If a reimbursement needs to be made for your housing, we cannot simply refund your credit card, since the reimbursement process through the university can be lengthy. Please give REEEC at least one week’s notice if you decide to change your length of stay; otherwise, you will be charged any nights you don’t cancel well in advance of your departure.
  3. Is it difficult to acquire funding for the SRL; how constrictive is the funding process?
    Funding for the SRL is competitive. Eligible applicants with strong proposals are more likely to receive funding for their research.
  4. Isn’t the SRL only for Humanistic Scholars and Historians? I need current periodicals and new publications, not archival material.
    SRL has resources for a wide range of scholars from many different fields and disciplines including but not limited to Law, Business, and STEM. The resources at Illinois are extensive, and include current periodicals and new publications. There are many items to which SRS provides access that are not available anywhere else in the US. Please see the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection and Services page or the Slavic Reference Service page for additional information.
  5. Does the SRL require me to participate in workshops or planned events?
    No, but the SRL often provides extra programming for the benefit of the associates who come to use the resources at Illinois. None of the programs are required in order to attend the SRL.
  6. Can I access any of the resources after I leave the lab?
    Yes! Often when scholars do research during the Summer Research Lab, they find more resources than they can fully investigate in one visit. The Slavic Reference Service librarians are very adept at loaning circulating items through Inter-Library Loan (ILL).
  7. Why should I visit, if SRS is willing to loan so much material via ILL?
    For graduate students, the SRL is a great opportunity to develop good relationships with the Slavic 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 associates long after they leave the SRL. 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 the SRL also have access to the main stacks at the University Library.
  8. Am I allowed to make digital copies of materials that I would like to take with me after I leave?
    Absolutely! Graduate students in the past have really appreciated the ability to create their own digital library of the resources acquired during the SRL.
  9. Is the SRL only for preliminary research, or does the SRL have more in-depth resources that would cater to more specialized research?
    SRL can assist both preliminary and advanced stages of research. SRL 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.
  10. How should I pay for Housing and Parking charges?
    If possible, please pay your Housing and Parking charges when you arrive with a credit card or a check. After payment, any changes to your length of stay cannot be reimbursed to your account. REEEC must issue a check reimbursement that may take several weeks to process.
  11. What are the library hours for the Slavic Reference Service?
    Slavic Reference Service hours correspond to the Main Library hours of operations. These hours are determined shortly before the start of each session. SRL dates correspond with the University’s Summer Session 2. Please check the Library website at the beginning of June for a full schedule of Library hours. When planning your trip to the SRL, please be aware that the library will be closed on July 4th and is open limited hours on weekends.
  12. Can I bring a guest?
    Yes. If staying in the SRL housing on campus, you will be asked to pay for the additional occupant. Guests may also access the library after registering with the SRL and paying the registration fee.
  13. What kind of funding is available?
    This year, SRL applicants who are U.S. citizens are eligible for Title VIII grants. Housing grants are available for up to 12 days. The grants are intended for shared rooms. If individuals desire a single room, they are responsible for the additional fees. Travel grants are available for up to $500, depending on distance and type of travel. Preference will be given to those at the advanced level. All eligibility criteria specified on the grants page applies. The Fisher Fellow and Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Scholar Awards are also available for participants. Please see their specific details to apply and determine eligibility.