IOS research in based on transnational, comparative and interdisciplinary approaches. The research is grouped into the following four interdisciplinary areas, which not only generate innovative research approaches, but are also of societal relevance.
- Governance between personalization and formalization
- Dynamics of exchange (migration and trade)
- Changing patterns and relations of labor
- Frozen and unfrozen conflicts (Junior Research Group)
Providing research infrastructure is another priority of the institute. These services for the research community include the publication of four international journals, two book series, working papers and reference literature, as well as a specialized library with more than 320,000 media items. Furthermore, the library provides a wide range of electronic services, such as specialist databases, research portals, and in‐depth descriptions of its library collections.
The support of young scholars is a further major objective of IOS. It is one of the institutions involved in the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, which has been established by the University of Regensburg and the LMU Munich as part of the German Excellence Initiative.
An important characteristic of IOS is its international orientation. The institute has its own program for visiting scholars and hosts scholarship holders funded by third parties. By organizing numerous scholarly events - often in close cooperation with partners in Germany and abroad - it helps to advance the academic debate in East and Southeast European Studies.