EU project for excellence of research on Russia and Eastern Europe

The Universities of Tartu, Estonia, Uppsala, Sweden, and Kent, UK, are making a communal effort to improve the quality, international awareness and integration of research on Russia and Eastern Europe.

The EU project UPTAKE has received over a million EUR to create a dynamic, open, long-lasting and sustainable infrastructure for collaborating and exchanging experiences within research into Russia and Eastern Europe. As part of the project, Uppsala University and the University of Kent are to help the University of Tartu to take its last step towards excellence.

‘It is an excitingly large and interdisciplinary project where we will bring together researchers from a number of fields of study for three years. Interdisciplinary undertakings are important, enjoyable and difficult. We are therefore particularly pleased that the project application was awarded the highest possible number of points when it was evaluated,’ says Stefan Hedlund, professor of Russian and East European Studies at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies of Uppsala University.

The project UPTAKE is being financed by the EU applying the concept of ‘twinning’ as part of the EU framework programme Horizon 2020. The project will run for three years and will be coordinated from the University of Tartu.

The project will involve a number of different activities. These include setting up an annual interdisciplinary scientific conference on research into Russia and Eastern Europe in Tartu. Researchers and doctoral students will have the opportunity to spend time together. A summer/winter school for doctoral students is also to be started. The aim of the activities is to build networks and sustainable structures which can carry on after the project has ended.

‘The main focus is on the activities in Tartu, but this EU project will also be important to the research environment at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies of Uppsala University. In order for us to achieve a vibrant research environment here, it is crucial that doctoral students and senior researchers from other countries come here for both short and long visits,’ says Stefan Hedlund.