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The Founding of the IOS

Bild: IOS/neverflash.com

The decision made in 2002 by the Bavarian Council of Ministers to relocate both Institutes as well as the Institute of East European Law to Regensburg has been mentioned elsewhere. Despite worries to the contrary, the actual relocation of the two Institutes in 2007 ultimately proved to be an opportunity for a new beginning.

At the Institute for Southeast European Studies (SOI), the number of academic staff was increased in early 2008, and again in early 2010, thus enabling a further expansion of the research activities in the fields of history and, to some extent, also contemporary studies. An important step had already been made in the latter, when from 2008, the academic editorial department of Südosteuropa (now COMPSEES) was secured. In 2010, a further academic post was created for the supervision of the new major project Handbuch zur Geschichte Südosteuropas (Handbook of the History of Southeast Europe). The library staff has been systematically increased since about 2006. Since 2007, the SOI has served as an organizer of lectures, events series, and conferences more frequently than ever before. In 2010, the SOI celebrated its 80th anniversary and, shortly before it merged, published its last work, the Geschichte Südosteuropas—another standard reference work that had played an important role in the preparation of the handbook project. With its move, the SOI, although remaining independent, became an affiliate of the University of Regensburg. In October 2008, Ulf Brunnbauer, who has also recently been appointed Professor of Southeast and East European History at the University of Regensburg, became the director of SOI. For the year prior to this, Professor Björn Hansen of the Institute of Slavic Studies at the University of Regensburg had been acting director of the Institute.

Things developed similarly at the East European Institute (OEI). Changes had already been made in the Institute’s management from 2001 onwards in anticipation of its relocation to Regensburg. The first increase in staff numbers, in 2010, was to the benefit of the Institute’s economic research. The work of both Institutes was increasingly being characterized by coordinated action. Joint activities were conducted, particularly at the level of the Research Center for Eastern and Southeastern Europe (WiOS), launched as a cooperation platform in 2007. The Institute of East European Law and the Hungarian Institute—both originating in Munich before moving to Regensburg (the latter in 2009), as well as the Research Centre for German in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (DIMOS) founded in 2013—are also part of the WiOS. Collaboration was particularly concentrated on the organization of events, especially with regard to library activities.
Today, the two extensive media collections of the OEI and the SOI form the historical core of the  IOS library (since 2017 Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies). It is, so to speak, the cornerstone of the WiOS library, one of the largest libraries specializing in Eastern Europe.

In 2009, plans developed with the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts to fully merge the SOI and OEI began to take shape. Apart from the customary scientific production, the years 2010 and 2011 were, to a great extent, characterized by the conceptual and practical preparation of this association, which came into effect on January 1, 2012, in legal continuity with the original Foundation of the Institute for Southeast European Studies. Executive Director Ulf Brunnbauer and Jürgen Jerger were the first two members of the Directorate of the new Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), which was created from the two predecessor institutes. In 2015, following an intensive (and for the IOS very successful) evaluation by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) and a favorable statement from the Leibniz Association's Commission, the Leibniz Association's General Assembly decided in November 2016, to welcome the IOS into its ranks. On January 1, 2017, the IOS became a member of the Leibniz Association and since then has borne the name Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Research.

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