RLUK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are delighted to announce the first cohort of fellows under their collaborative Professional Practice Fellowship scheme for academic and research libraries.

Following a highly-competitive application process, the 10 Professional Practice Fellows will begin their research over the summer of 2022. Lasting between 6 and 12 months, the fellows will investigate topics central to the role of academic libraries as partners and leaders of pioneering, cross-disciplinary, research.

RLUK and AHRC would like to thank all of those colleagues who have supported the development and delivery of the scheme. This includes the members of the peer review panel who assessed applications, the mentors of individual fellows, and the application advisors who assisted applicants in submitting their application.

In announcing the fellowships, Dr Jessica Garder, RLUK Chair and University Librarian, University of Cambridge said:

‘I am delighted that we are announcing our first fellows under this groundbreaking scheme in partnership with the AHRC. The range and variety of research topics pursued by the fellows demonstrates the breadth of research interests and potential contained within academic libraries. To have this opportunity to work with the fellows and the AHRC to promote the role of academic libraries as research partners and leaders is core to RLUK’s work. We look forward to working with the fellows as they undertake their exciting research journeys and thank the AHRC for their generosity in funding the scheme’.

Dr Allan Sudlow, Director of Partnerships and Engagement at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said:

‘I am thrilled to be welcoming our first cohort of Professional Practice Fellowships in partnership with RLUK. The breadth of research topics pursued by the fellows demonstrates both a desire to engage with research and the potential to shape the future research landscape.

These fellowships, alongside the Research Catalyst Cohort programme we are delivering with RLUK and the Association of Research Managers, speak to a shared commitment  to the principles of the Technician Commitment. Research library professionals are a critical part of our research ecosystem’.

The Professional Practice Fellowship scheme

Announced in September 2021, the Professional Practice Fellowship scheme for academic and research libraries provides fellowships of up to £20,000 (80% Full Economic Costings) to enable library colleagues to set research agendas, be active participants and leaders of multidisciplinary research, and to provide intellectual leadership in their own disciplines and professional practices. The scheme is a direct result of the findings and recommendations of a joint scoping study undertaken by RLUK, AHRC, and Evidence Base (January-June 2021) regarding the role of academic libraries as research partners and leaders.

The Professional Practice Fellowship scheme was open to any colleague working within an academic library that belongs to a recognised Higher Education Institution (HEI), Independent Research Organisation (IRO), or Research Libraries UK member. The scheme provides a career development opportunity for library colleagues by enabling them to place their professional practice within a wider research context. Fellowships are an investment in the Fellows’ area of research and their potential as a researcher. As a result, they are designed to bring benefits to the individual fellow, their institution, and the wider academic library community. 

The scheme originally comprised five available fellowships. This number was then doubled to ten fellowships during the assessment round, reflecting both the quality of applications to the scheme and in recognition of the important role that academic libraries can play as research partners and leaders. RLUK wishes to thank the AHRC for their generosity in both supporting the scheme and increasing the allocation of available fellowships.

Meet the fellows

Each fellowship under this scheme is unique: in its focus, in the research questions it considers, and how it will benefit the individual fellow. Fellowships will commence between June-September 2022 and will last between 6 and 12 months. Each Fellow has produced a fellowship profile outlining their research interest and ambitions for their fellowship.

Further information about the scheme is available here. Announcements regarding future iterations of the fellowship programme will also be made on these pages.

For information regarding any information contained on this page, please contact programmes@rluk.ac.uk