Friday, August 22, 2014

European Union Center at the University of Illinois Awarded Renewal of EU Center of Excellence Grant

Champaign, IL, August 22, 2014—A newly funded initiative at the University of Illinois will examine the potential effects of a transatlantic free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the European Union and United States, take Illinois students to the Arctic circle to learn about the impacts of climate change, and foster research collaborations on comparative studies of race and education in Europe and the U.S. These are just a few of the innovative projects that will be made possible through a new grant to UI.

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States has awarded the University of Illinois’ European Union Center ( a renewal of the prestigious EU Center of Excellence research and teaching grant for academic year 2014-2015. Led by Drs. Anna Stenport, Matt Rosenstein and Sebnem Ozkan, the EU Center (EUC) coordinates an interdisciplinary network of University of Illinois faculty and research centers to expand research, outreach and course development related to EU Studies across the Illinois campus, with regional and global partners, and through a comprehensive digital media presence.

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States periodically holds an open competition in which universities compete for a financial award intended to enhance European Union studies. Centers must demonstrate high quality teaching, research, and regional outreach programs on EU and EU-U.S. topics, and propose novel and ambitious enhancements to existing programs. The EUC has held the Center of Excellence designation since 2011.

In 2014-2015, the EU Center at UI will use the 95,000 euro (approximately $130,000) grant to build on its already substantial profile by developing new research and teaching initiatives in three thematic areas seeking to address global challenges by drawing on world-renowned Illinois expertise. “EU Responses to Environmental Challenges,” led by professors Jody Endres (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences), Allison Anders (Geology), Mark Safstrom (Scandinavian Studies and Germanic Languages and Literatures) and Sara Bartumeus (Architecture), approaches environmental policy challenges from a variety of perspectives. “Adapting to Change in the EU and in EU-US Relations: Integration, Culture, and Identities,” led by professors Helaine Silverman (Anthropology), Adrienne Dixson (Education Policy, Organization and Leadership), George Gasyna (Slavic Languages and Literatures), and Ben Lough (Social Work), seeks to understand educational, humanitarian, and cultural issues of the EU. Finally, “Transatlantic and EU Politics, Policy, and Security,” led by professors David Bullock (Agricultural and Consumer Economics), Barry Pittendrigh (Entomology), Kostas Kourtikakis (Political Science), Stefanos Katsikas (Linguistics and Modern Greek Studies), Joseph Clougherty (Business), and Verity Winship (Law), explores the nuances of politics, policy and the agricultural trade and business environments within the context of the evolving EU. These projects advance EU and transatlantic studies in signature Illinois ways: interdisciplinarily, innovatively, and inclusively. The total project cost is 221,957 euros (approximately $300,000) and will be further supported by an institutional match from UI.

To maximize the impact of the proposed research, teaching, and outreach endeavors, the EUC and partnering faculty will organize four-speaker series addressing topics related to the three thematic areas. In addition, the EUC will organize five signature outreach events, including its marquee event EU Day, a summer study tour to Brussels, the Transatlantic Educators Dialogue for K-12 teachers in the US and EU, and the Euro Challenge competition for high school students. The EUC will issue competitive campus-wide calls for research and travel grants for both students and faculty, complementing other supported research projects by visiting Scholars-in-Residence from Europe and Regional EU Scholars Sara Hall and Petia Kostadinova from UI Chicago, Joyce Mushaben from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and James Van der Laan at Illinois State University. Curricular projects will see to the development of five new courses, an EU studies undergraduate minor, a combined BA/MA program in an EU language with EU studies, and, at Illinois State University, an undergraduate degree in European Studies.


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