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Regional Call for Fellowship Applications
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Regional Call for Fellowship Applications

Inspired by the cooperation of generations of Early Career Researchers at the Center for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka and the creation of long-term academic synergies within Southeast Europe declared at the 2023 Rectors’ Forum of Southeast Europe and Western Balkans, we are pleased to announce the



The upcoming Regional Fellowship will stimulate fellows to undertake and present their research in regional centers of Southeast Europe, contributing to growing network of academics engaging in Southeast Europe. Fellows will benefit from the provided host support at Universities of Rijeka and Belgrade, with co-hosts at Universities of SkopjeSarajevoLjubljanaPristineTirana or Podgorica by their choice. Each fellow will have the opportunity to spend up to four weeks working on their research project at a partner university and connect with other scholars and research communities within their field, perform data gathering, and/or get experience with a particular research method.


Every society needs a vision for the future. Societies in Southeast Europe seem to be caught in the vicious circle of the permanent present built on the remnants of nationalist and exclusive accounts of the past – with a progressive vision missing. Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of “retrotopia” translated into regional politics would equal an inspiration of old-fashioned type of politics focused not on a future-to-be-created, but on an abandoned and undead past made of the residual heat of the exclusive nation-state idea, utterly authoritarian vision of the society, hierarchical decision-making processes led by a strong man, a clientelist economy, with total neglect of progressive, ecological, gender-sensitive and just visions of society to boot.

The focus on confronting the past through legal processes, while essential to personal and criminal responsibility for war crimes, has had little effect on broader public attitudes, and the cathartic impact has been largely absent. Instead of fostering solidarity, regional friendship and unity, governments fuel divisions based on the ethnic principle and a sort of self-imposed political segregation of ethnic groups. As a result, any “non-nationalist” politics look like naïve idealism. Progressive actors, struggling to make inroads in confronting the past, find themselves losing hard-won ground. Revitalization of a positive European vision is crucial. The region desperately needs visions and policies that advocate for civic, democratic, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, open, plural, and inclusive societies within the region.

To confront the past, looking back is not enough. Cultivating a culture based on facts, mindful of the past and allowing productive oblivion is indispensable. Yet, equally important is to formulate and foster a “culture of a shared future” in the region – bringing forward narratives, evidence, and politics to replace a culture of hostility with a common vision of a joint future.

With this call, we aim to produce substantial new knowledge that will help us:

  • critically assess the situation in dealing with the past, and frankly consider the successes and failures of particular attempts;
  • unpack practices and commonalities from the past and explore present progressive and solidary practices able to escape the vicious retrotopian circle in the region;
  • examine the possibilities of forging and promoting effective counternarratives rooted in a culture of a shared future;
  • explore innovative social and spatial models and tools for a more socially and culturally sustainable shared future.

Although we will consider excellent proposals that are not strictly related to the main topics, we encourage candidates to focus on:

  • Conducting regional comparative empirical research on the evolution of narratives and reconciliation actions from the 1990s to the present, and how they would build a culture of shared future.
  • Performing a regional comparative enquiry of educational and cultural institutions, civil society and the intellectual community to understand how these key actors affect a shared sense of the future in the region. We particularly welcome an analysis of the role of higher education and joint regional HE programs.
  • Undertaking a regional comparative analysis of media and political narratives pertinent to the project in the past decade, including coverage of culture, heritage, reconciliation, etc., leading to findings that better promote the “culture of shared future.”
  • Developing a regional comparative study of new forms of spatial thinking, alternative models and tools of sustainable development fostering integrated, strategic and data driven planning and design knowledge, considering resilience, urban environment and policy making as a complex connection between technical, cultural, social, and economic factors, as well as of strategic, organizational, and spatial considerations.


Fellowships may run from 3 up to 9-month period. The expected start of the fellowship period is February 1st, 2024.

Fellows will receive a net monthly stipend of 1,500 Euros. Fellows are responsible for their own travel and health care provisions.

Fellows are expected to spend one week during their fellowship on the island of Cres at the Moise Palace, a Renaissance palace managed by the University of Rijeka. The Moise Palace serves as a research retreat; a regional hub for the advancement of social science, humanities, art, and interdisciplinary research; and a space of engagement and exchange with local communities.

Alongside pursuing their independent research interests, fellows will need to plan to attend regional conferences and seminars organized within RECAS.

The research visit to partner university can last a maximum of 4 weeks (28 days). Each fellow will be awarded a grant of up to 800 EUR to cover their travel and accommodation expenses during their stay. Proof of expenses will be required to reimburse the costs.

During fellowship period, each researcher is required to write as essay on the theme of the fellowship. At the end of the fellowship, researchers must submit a short activity report to describe the outputs of the fellowship. Details will be provided once the fellowship is granted.

Fellows are chosen through a rigorous selection process, which includes stages of pre-selection and a decision made by an independent, interdisciplinary, and international Selection Committee.


Application deadline → October 5th, 2023

Publication of the final selections → November 5th, 2023

Expecting start of the Fellowship → February 1st, 2024


Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent, obtain a maximum of 9 years prior to the call deadline.

Applicants are expected to be able to communicate fluently in English as this is the working language of the Fellowship.

Researchers from all countries are eligible to apply for the program, providing they work in the theme of the call.

The program is open to all disciplines in the fields of humanities, social sciences, and arts.



Applications are submitted by filling the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM.  Instructions for the filling application can be found HERE



Fellowships are enabled by the ERSTE Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund in the framework of supporting brain circulation for democratic development in Southeast Europe.