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

Following a highly-competitive application process, the nine Professional Practice Fellows will begin their research from September 2023. Lasting from 6 to 23 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.

Masud Khokhar, RLUK Chair and University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds, said:

I am delighted to see the development of the second cohort of professional practice fellows in partnership with the AHRC. The professional practice fellowship scheme is a great acknowledgement of the role of academic libraries and their staff in enriching and enhancing the research eco-system. The first cohort of fellows were highly successful in undertaking a vast range and variety of research topics demonstrating the breadth of research activities in libraries. The second cohort will be further strengthening the research potential in libraries and bringing a new set of thinking and ideas to the forefront of research endeavour.

RLUK is pleased to work with the professional practice fellows and the AHRC to promote the role of academic libraries as research partners and leaders. We look forward in supporting the fellows as they undertake their exciting research journeys to shape the future research landscape, 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 second cohort of Professional Practice Fellowships in partnership with RLUK. The further breadth of research topics pursued by this next group of fellows demonstrates both an ongoing desire to engage with research and to realise the potential to shape the future research landscape.

These new fellowships, alongside the second Research Catalyst Cohort programme which 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

The second Professional Practice Fellowship Scheme for academic and research libraries provides fellowships of up to £25,000 (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. It follows the first round of the 10 Professional Practice Fellows announced in May 2022.

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 second round of the scheme supports nine fellowships 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.

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 September 2023 and early 2024. They will last between 6 and 23 months. Each fellow has produced a 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