Information Services

Research Projects

Collaborative projects

The University of Edinburgh's Heritage Collections team is committed to using its collections to support research, teaching, and civic engagement. To that end, project work, which draws on the strengths of these collections, forms a key role within the activity of the Heritage Collections Team. This can range from focussed activity within the day-to-day work of the team, to large-scale, externally funded projects, some run wholly within the team, others collaboratively, with internal University partners or external organisations.

These projects are designed to:

  • Increase access to the collections for researchers, students, and the public
  • Promote the use of the collections in teaching and learning
  • Raise awareness of the collections and their significance
  • Support the conservation and preservation of the collections

The team is committed to ensuring that all projects are aligned with the University's strategic objectives and that they meet the highest standards of academic rigour and ethical practice.

All projects must be approved by the Heritage Collections team before they can be undertaken. The approval process includes an assessment of the project's objectives, methodology, and budget. The team will also consider the project's potential impact and its alignment with the University's strategic objectives.

Some examples of current areas of project work are:

  • The Charles Lyell Collection - Access and Engagement Programme This programme will bring to fruition a transformative programme of archive and object cataloguing, preservation, conservation, digitisation, interpretation, public engagement and research around the most internationally significant Earth Science collection in the world – the Sir Charles Lyell Collection. The programme of conservation, cataloguing, digitisation and transcription will facilitate broad and meaningful access to the collections and will furnish collections based research, including embedded funded PhD studentships, post-doctoral research fellow, digital scholarship, internships and student experiences. Further information is available here
  • One Health: human responsibility for animal health and welfare in Scotland, 1840-present.  This project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is run in collaboration with the animal protection charity OneKind, the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. It aims to catalogue, conserve, selectively digitise and make available for research, three outstanding collections - those of the three partners -  relating to animal and human health and wellbeing.
  • The European Ethnological Research Centre - Cataloguing and Resource Discovery This project is developing a resource for the cataloguing and discovery of both digital and physical collections generated by the Regional Ethnology of Scotland Project (RESP).  Alongside the creation of  an on-line catalogue, the project will explore digital preservation and associated best practice to allow the long-term preservation of the collection’s digital audio recordings and digital photographs.  RESP, which is supported by the European Ethnological Research Centre, aims to collect and make widely available primary source material that illustrates everyday life and society in Scotland.     Further information is available here.  
  • Speaking Out This project, which is also funded by the Wellcome Trust, seeks to catalogue (and promote) Lothian Gay and Lesbian Switchboard archives held by Lothian Health Services Archive within the Centre for  Research Collections.      
  • The Nagler Bequest: Transforming Conservation of the University of Edinburgh’s Cultural Heritage Collections

        Thanks to a generous bequest, this project seeks to conserve and preserve the University’s rare and unique cultural heritage assets, within a structured four-year programme to:

  1. transform the current service to meet evolving demands for access to the collections, both physical and digital,                  
  2. enhance vocational training for our students, and those in the wider conservation community                    
  3. support innovation within the field of conservation,                    
  4. raise the profile of the Centre for Research Collections as a leader in collection care and conservation.


A full list of current projects is available here.