- To outline the establishment of the first colleges, academies and universities in the BSR under foreign guidance, analyse their political and societal contexts of their founding and research on the institutionalization of knowledge.
- To reconstruct the biographies of the first generation of domestic scholars.
- To compare the phases and implications of the emerging academic cultures in different parts of the BSR.
- To analyse the correspondence between scientists within the BSR or to/from Western Europe, e.g. between the Graz-based linguist Hugo Schuchardt and Georgian intellectuals about the Georgian language.
- To map foreign education obtained by students and scholars from the BSR beyond their national contexts and to research on the implications of new external ideas brought to their respective home countries (e.g. Tergdaleulebi).
- To research on the connections between migration flows and knowledge exchange in the 19th century.
- To analyse knowledge and technology transfer in the emerging field of photography and to reconstruct the biographies of the region’s first photographers.
- To critically question the construction of gender representations, especially in ethnographic photography, as well as on the representation of ethnic minorities.