European Union Center at UIUC awarded with Excellence Grant

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The University’s European Union Center has been awarded the prestigious EU Center of Excellence research and teaching grant for this academic year for about $130,000.

The EU Center, led by Drs. Anna Stenport, Matt Rosenstein and Sebnem Ozkan, coordinates interdisciplinary work between University faculty and research centers to advance outreach, course development and outreach related to EU studies, according to the news release from the European Union Center.

“We are able to use this funding to support a lot of different activities,” said Matt Rosenstein the center’s senior associate director. “We are supporting projects in the humanities, in the social sciences and natural sciences. They’re covering a wide range of issues.”

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States periodically accepts submissions through which universities compete for a financial award that should be used to enhance European Union studies.

The EU Center first received a grant from the EU in 1998, which helped establish the center and the EUC has been designated as a center of excellence since 2011, Rosenstein said.

To have the “center of excellence” title, the center must offer quality teaching, research and regional outreach programs on topics related to the EU and EU-US relationships, according to the press release.

“The funding allows this wide range of research by faculty and students of new courses that students can take about Europe, and it also establishes the University as a venue where people in the state of Illinois and in the Midwest can learn more about the United States’ relationship with Europe and the European Union,” Rosenstein said.

Throughout the academic year, the University will use the money from the grant for new teaching initiatives and research projects. Several professors from UI will be contributing to this initiative.

“It really enables a lot of access to resources and connections for the University of Illinois for its students and its faculty,” Rosenstien said. “There are opportunities for some meaningful engagement by people in Illinois and at the University of Illinois with counterparts and colleagues both in academia and in policies.”

The EUC is planning to have guest speakers come to UI to speak on subjects relating to the grant. There will also be various outreach events for grade school and high school students.

The grant will be contributing to new courses as well as majors and minors in European Studies both at the University and Illinois State.