Summer Research Laboratory

2023 SUMMER RESEARCH LABORATORY 

ON RUSSIA, EASTERN EUROPE, AND EURASIA

 

June 12 – August 4, 2023
Priority Application Deadline: March 3, 2023

 

OVERVIEW:

The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) and the Slavic Reference Service (SRS) at the University of Illinois are excited to host the 50th annual Summer Research Laboratory (SRL) program. REEEC and SRS will work to support scholars this summer through both in-person and virtual programming, research assistance, professional development opportunities, and collections and database access.  We will provide support for both in-person and virtual associateships for scholars to conduct research concerning all aspects of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Please note that the majority of Associateships will be in-person. 

We encourage researchers to visit Champaign-Urbana, 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. During their visit, SRL Associates will have access to the extensive holdings of the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection at the University of Illinois Library and will receive research assistance from the librarians of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS). 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, Champaign-Urbana 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.

This year’s SRL is made possible by generous support from the US Department of State, through its Program for Research and Training on Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII).

 

WHAT THE LAB OFFERS:

  • Designation as a REEEC Summer Research Laboratory (SRL) Associate.
  • Thematic and skill-building workshop events as well as opportunities to present and discuss work in progress. For a list of topics, organizers, and dates, see below. A fuller abstract of these workshops may be found on our website.
  • US citizens are eligible for funding as an in-person associate or a virtual associate. An in-person associate is eligible for a $1000 research stipend in support of their work, a housing grant of up to 9 nights of on-campus housing at the shared rate, and a travel grant of up to $600 of round-trip transportation costs to and from Urbana-Champaign. A virtual associate is eligible for a research stipend of $500 in support of their work. · Year-round research support through the Slavic Reference Service (SRS).

Research Services for in person SRL Associates

  • Assistance with general and specialized queries throughout the year.
  • Access to digital and database collections of our Library for an extended period.
  • Onsite access to one of the largest collections in North America.
  • General orientation to collections and services.

Research Services for virtual SRL Associates and international participants

  • Assistance with general and specialized queries throughout the year.
  • Access to digital and database collections of our Library for an extended period.
  • General orientation to collections and services.
  • A free of charge duplication service for University of Illinois Library materials. Restricted to 20 pages per request and subject to copyright restrictions

SRL Associates may also request personalized bibliographic sessions with the SRS (in-person or through Zoom). These sessions, prepared in advance by a regional specialist at the SRS, introduce relevant sources and methods, and may address specific needs tied to ongoing research projects. Priority for these individualized bibliographic sessions is given to graduate students and early career scholars.

Though the main funding is restricted to US citizens, we are sometimes able to find some funding for international scholars to help with travel, often if the applicant is participating in a workshop. 

The SRS research services are available to REEES scholars throughout the year, regardless of institutional or program affiliation.

 

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Applications to the SRL are accepted through an online portal:

SRL 2023 Application

Applicants must provide a short narrative explaining their research project, and indicate how they will benefit from access to University of Illinois resources and participation in the SRL. Researchers conducting policy-relevant research projects will be prioritized for Title VIII grant support. All applicants must also submit a short-form CV (5 pages maximum). US Citizens who are applying for Title VIII research support must also provide a clearly formulated statement of policy relevance, as described below.

STATEMENT OF POLICY RELEVANCE

US citizens applying for Title VIII financial support must also upload a Statement of Policy Relevance. This statement should comprise a brief project abstract that draws a connection between your research topic and any aspect of US foreign policy issues, strategies, emphases, or concerns. Length: 100 words or less; 425 characters, including spaces. The extent to which a project is policy-relevant will vary with the field of study, but most research pertaining to the region informs our understanding of, helps contextualize, or otherwise holds implications for the history, nature, or legacy of policy considerations. A partial list of contemporary policy-related topics might include security issues of all sorts (e.g., border, military, energy, food, and water security); conflict, extremism, terrorism, trafficking, violence, and international criminal syndicates; government, politics, sociopolitical movements, state building, elections, populism, and the cult of political personalities; Cold War studies and the  legacies of state socialism; environmental policy, degradation, and climate change; displaced populations and demographic movement (political, economic, and climate-change refugees, migrants, and immigrants); studies of social identity and difference (gender, sexualities, ethnicity, nationalism, class, religion and belief); information access and dissemination (freedom of the press, communications, education, journalism, social media); international and supranational alliances; technological advances and artificial intelligence (e.g., aeronautical, bio-, communications, computer, information, medical, nano-, and military technology); and artistic and popular culture engagement with or commentaries on any of these topics, whether through literature, film, music, visual art, dance, or other expressive culture media. In short, applicants are asked to indicate how their research might inform, resonate with, or otherwise contribute to the understanding of regional topics of concern to policy makers as well as the scholarly community.

FEATURED WORKSHOPS:

We will be updating our site with more information on these workshops shortly.

  • Language Learning and Language Competencies for Field Research in Eurasian Studies

  • Sovereignty and National Security in the Post-Soviet Space

FAQ:

  1. If I would like to apply for a Virtual SRL associateship, how would it work?
    You would receive remote research support from the Slavic Reference Service (SRS) and access to the University of Illinois Library’s digital resources all summer as well as an invitation to join us virtually for our programming. If you are a US citizen, you are eligible to apply for a competitive virtual research stipend of $500 in support of your work.
  2. When can I participate in the program?
    Participation in the Summer Research Lab is flexible. You may participate at any time between June 12 and August 4, 2023. If you will be visiting in-person, please indicate your planned dates of attendance on your application. You may change your dates if needed, but please let us know well in advance of your arrival in order for us to make the necessary arrangements.
  3. How is Title VIII funding awarded?
    Title VIII funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Eligible applicants with strong proposals are more likely to receive funding for their research. SRL awards are made by a committee of scholars derived from the Research Laboratory Advisory Board and University of Illinois faculty.
  4. What kind of funding is available?
    US citizens who are applying to the SRL are eligible for funding from the Title VIII program (Title VIII Research Award). We will offer awards for both in-person and virtual associateships. Successful applications for the in-person associateship award will receive a stipend in support of their work ($1000), travel support of up to $600 for round-trip travel to Urbana-Champaign, and 9 nights of on-campus housing at the shared rate. Successful applications for the virtual associateship award will receive a research stipend of $500 in support of their work.
  5. Can I access any of the resources after my time at the SRL?
    Yes! The Slavic Reference Service librarians are very adept at loaning circulating items through Inter-Library Loan (ILL) and assisting you with any follow-up research requests. The SRS is committed to supporting REEES scholars year-round. 
  6. Why should I participate in the SRL, if SRS is willing to loan so much material via ILL?
    The SRL is a great opportunity to develop good relationships with SRS librarians. They are ready to work with you one-on-one and use their specialized knowledge to assist with complex queries associated with dissertation research or long-term projects. SRS librarians have a long history of collaborating with SRL Associates long after they leave the SRL. Additionally, a visit (whether in-person or virtual) gives scholars the opportunity to access and utilize one of the largest research collections in North America. Scholars who utilize the SRL also receive electronic access to an extensive collection of databases and digital collections (including free-of-charge scans of materials through the SRS duplication service).
  7. Am I allowed to make digital copies of materials that I receive from the SRL?
    Absolutely! You can create your own digital library of the resources acquired during the SRL.
  8. Is the SRL only for preliminary research, or does the SRL have more in-depth resources that would cater to more specialized research?
    The SRL can assist both preliminary and advanced stages of research. The 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.
  9. 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. Please be aware that the library maintains limited hours on weekends.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) at reeec-srl@illinois.edu.

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