The Institute for Byzantine Research (Institut für Byzanzforschung, IBF, http://www.oeaw.ac.at/byzanz/) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is threatened by severe cuts. Faced with a reduction in its budget, the Academy leadership has decided to target the Institute for Byzantine Research for a reduction in funding of approximately a third of its budget that would seriously imperil its research mission. We are now asking for your support in the form of letters addressed to the Academy leadership.
In the last 50 years, the ‘Vienna School’ of Byzantine studies has been consistently in the forefront of path-breaking research and enjoys world-wide recognition for its achievements. This is largely due to a number of long-term collaborative projects that require sustained and engaged work by highly trained researchers with specialized skills. The support of such work has traditionally been the mission of Academies. Thanks to the support of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Dictionary of Byzantine Greek (Lexikon der byzantinischen Gräzität), the Tabula Imperii Byzantini (a historical geography of the regions of the Byzantine Empire), the edition of the Register of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (Patriarchatsregister, covering ecclesiastical politics of the 14th to early 15th century), as well as the work on Byzantine lead seals and Byzantine epigrams, have created foundational tools for further research not only in the study of Byzantine history, literature and culture, but also more widely in classical philology, medieval studies, and regional studies of the Eastern Mediterranean.
- The external evaluation of the IBF by a small group of international scholars in adjacent disciplines in June 2011 called it ‘one of the world’s greatest centres for Byzantine Studies… No other research institute in the world has such long-term projects or provides such a service.’ It was noted that ‘The major, long-term projects produce editions and series (…) are deemed essential by all medievalists and Byzantinists throughout the world (…).’ These projects are a ‘precious international research resource, valued wherever Byzantium is studied, complementary to and enabling of the work of other long-standing research institutes.’ The report concluded that the IBF brings ‘glory to the Academy.’
- The IBF is successful by all indicators: in research output, international collaborations and in attracting external support (see attached)
- The research of the IBF is of crucial relevance to a wide range of other disciplines, from regional studies of Turkey and the Balkans and medieval studies to ecclesiastical history, Greek palaeography and classical philology
- The suggested cuts for the IBF would amount to a reduction of scholarly staff by one third, and would imperil the continued existence of a research unit with a proven record of success.
Immediate response from the international scholarly community will impress upon the Academy leadership the central importance of the work of the Institute for Byzantine Research far beyond the chronological and geographical boundaries of Byzantium, for the humanities and social sciences in general.
Letters of support may be sent to:
- Vice-President of the Academy Arnold.Suppan@oeaw.ac.at
- Klassenpräsidentin Sigrid.Jalkotzy-Deger@oeaw.ac.at
- Sektionschefin im BMWF Barbara.Weitgruber@bmwf.gv.at
- With a cc to Prof. Dr. Claudia Rapp (email@example.com)