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Research & Collections Programme

Growing research through the convening power of Cambridge’s collections

Visiting Scholar Scheme, 2021-2022

Call for Visiting Scholar Applications

The Research & Collections Programme invites researchers from the University’s collecting institutions as well as faculties and departments to submit proposals to fund a Visiting Scholar to join current collections-focused research projects for one term. Applications are invited for proposals costed up to £10,000 that will support a Visiting Scholar to participate in a collections-based research project. Proposals should demonstrate how the Visiting Scholar’s expertise will contribute to one of the RCP’s four Research Growth Networks (RGN): Digital, Environment, Materiality, and Ownership. Contributions can include attending or hosting workshops, seminars and meetings to foster idea sharing with the RGNs or to present on their research outcomes. Preference will be given to Visiting Scholars whose participation in this research will enhance and foster inter- and trans-disciplinary collaboration. We particularly welcome proposals that involve a Visiting Scholar based outside of the UK, but this does not preclude applications for UK-based Visiting Scholars.

The vision for the Visiting Scholar Fund is to expand our collections-focused Research Growth Networks, enrich our research approaches through knowledge exchange, diversify our research approaches, and promote greater awareness of our research collections. Visiting Scholars are chosen based on the strength of the Cambridge applicant’s project proposal, the unique contribution of the Visiting Scholar’s expertise to better understand our collections, and the contribution this collaboration will make to the RCP's Research Growth Networks. It is expected that Visiting Scholars will undertake research in Cambridge for at least the duration of a term or three months (including the summer) during the 2021-2022 academic year, but longer or shorter visits can be considered.

Proposals are due by midnight on 15 August 2021 and should be submitted via the Online Form. Please do not hesitate to contact the Research & Collections Programme Manager via the Contact Form should you have any queries about the RCP or the CfP, or visit the FAQs page on the RCP website. Decisions will be announced by the end of September 2021 with the option for Visiting Scholars to arrive in Cambridge during Michaelmas Term (October-December 2021). Successful applicants should expect to host their Visiting Scholar before the end of October 2022.


To be eligible, applicants must hold a current contract of employment with Cambridge University or a Cambridge College (but not visiting or affiliated researchers) and whose role includes research activity, which includes:

  • Senior Staff on academic-related contracts who are research active.
  • Senior Research Associates or Research Associates.
  • College Teaching Officers and Junior Research Fellows.


  • The current project must be based on at least one Cambridge collection and be relevant to the themes and aims of the RCP’s Research Growth Networks
  • Applicants should demonstrate their intention for the research team, including the Visiting Scholar, to participate in the Research & Collections Programme through attending workshops, events, and presenting their research outcomes to the RGNs.
  • PIs of projects funded through the RGN scheme are eligible to apply for a Visiting Scholar.
  • Applicants are asked to follow their respective departmental/institutional approval procedure for funding application and hosting Visiting Scholars.

Note that if you are not currently undertaking a collections-research project through RCP or other funding, please refer to the Call for Project Proposals.

Proposal Requirements and Selection Criteria

Proposals should demonstrate how the Visiting Scholar’s research will contribute to one or more of the RCP’s four Research Growth Networks, which offer researchers the opportunity to explore and develop big ideas and build capacity for collaborative, inter- and trans-disciplinary, projects inspired by Cambridge’s collections. Participation in the RGN scheme provides Cambridge researchers and Visiting Scholars the opportunity to explore and develop big ideas along with the practical support required for creativity, collaboration and network building.

The Online Form will ask for the following details:

Cambridge Applicant Details:

  • Name, post, Cambridge department/institution and contact details (Email address and phone number)

  • Summary of Current Collections Research Project (500-600 words) and how it relates to the aims and objectives of the RCP’s Research Growth Networks.

Visiting Scholar Details:

  • Name, post, institution and contact details

  • Proposed date and tenure of visit (must be in residence for at least one term or three months).

  • Summary of the Visiting Scholar’s relevant research expertise and experience.

  • Cambridge collection(s) that the Visiting Scholar will consult and what it will contribute to the proposed project.

  • How the Visiting Scholar’s contribution on the existing project will contribute to one of the four Research Growth Networks (e.g., idea-sharing or training workshops, organising/speaking at seminars or conferences in collaboration with the RCP and RGNs).

  • Anticipated Outcomes and/or Outputs from the Visiting Scholar’s research and how it will contribute to the host institution and collection(s) that support their research.

  • A budget outline demonstrating the funds required to host the Visiting Scholar (e.g., travel, accomodation, bench fees, and so on)

Supporting Documents (Required):

  • An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae of the proposed Visiting Scholar.

  • A letter from your host institution at Cambridge. 

  • A letter signed by the Visiting Scholar’s Head of Department (or equivalent) confirming:

    • That they are a member of staff at their home institution and are research active.
    • That their proposed visit has the Head of Department’s support.