Introducing the
Cambridge University
Library Research Institute

Collaborating with others to set the agenda for collections-led research and generate opportunities across and beyond disciplines

Cambridge University Library is excited to announce the launch of the University Library Research Institute (ULRI) on 23 May 2023.

The UK’s research landscape has changed, and with it the role of research libraries. Research has become more collaborative and interdisciplinary, reaching beyond the boundaries of traditional disciplines and recognising the contributions of a wider range of professionals.

As a beacon of good practice in a diverse community of thinkers and researchers, the mission of the new Cambridge University Library Research Institute is to enhance international scholarship by connecting people and collections

"Launching the Research Institute is a source of great pride for the Library and an important part of our new strategy. It’s a mark of the depth and significance of the research through our collections and a testament to the long-standing role of library staff in helping to facilitate scholarship and contribute through their skill and expertise to the making of new knowledge."

Dr Jessica Gardner, University Librarian and Director of Library Services

Through innovation and partnerships, the Research Institute will collaborate with institutions locally, nationally and internationally to set the agenda for collections-led research, generating opportunities across and beyond disciplines.

Watch the video below for an introduction to the Research Institute:

University Library Head of Research and Research Institute Manager Dr Amelie Roper comments:

"It has been an incredible privilege to be involved in shaping the new University Library Research Institute. As a vibrant, inclusive community of researchers and practitioners at all career stages, its possibilities are limitless. I am committed to making the ULRI a space that fosters collaborations that will make a difference to culture and society."

The ULRI's core values and those of our partners are grounded in open, collaborative and ethical research for the advancement of knowledge and the public good. In line with the principles of ‘responsible research and innovation’, we strive to be:    

  • Ethical and to abide by our social and cultural responsibilities to people, collections and the environment 
  • Open, sustainable and accessible to all 
  • Inclusive and free of discrimination 


The ULRI will draw on the foundations of our world-leading collections and infrastructure. We hold over 10 million physical collection items. Our Special Collections comprise one of the world’s great collections of global documentary cultural heritage collected over six centuries and spanning some four thousand years of recorded thought. In 2020, they were awarded Designated status as an outstanding collection by the Arts Council England based on their quality and significance, and are a unique and distinctive resource for research.  

Our physical collection is growing at a rate of over 100,000 items a year through an active programme of purchase and donation, together with our status as one of the UK’s six legal deposit libraries. And with our born-digital and digitised collections growing rapidly as well, we are ideally placed to set the agenda for collections-led research. 

"I've had the immense good fortune to work with the University Library's collections since the beginning of my research career. This journey has been shaped by the treasures held within these collections, and the amazing individuals from whom I have learnt so much and with whom I now work. The Research Institute is a place where we can write a new chapter of collaborative discovery and transformative research. We invite you to join us on this new and exciting journey!"

Professor Orietta Da Rold, Academic Director of the Research Institute

How can you get involved?

Check out our website

Explore our newly-launched webpages, where you can find our research project portfolio, researcher directory, read the latest ULRI news and much more.

Keep up-to-date

Sign up to the ULRI mailing list to receive updates on research activities and opportunities across the Cambridge University Libraries network.

Attend an event

We are running an events programme to share research activity and create an engaged, inclusive research community.

Collaborate with us

If you are interested in collaborating with Cambridge University Library on a research project, we are keen to hear from you. Please fill in our collaboration form linked below to give basic information on your proposal.

Contact us

For information on the Cambridge University Library Research Institute governance and staffing, see our team webpage:


Mailing address:
Research Institute
Cambridge University Library
West Road

Social media:
Connect with us on Twitter @theUL to engage with project updates and opportunities using #ULRI:

Collection items featured:
Pocket terrestrial globe, CUL ORCS.1.01
Illustration of birds, CUL FH.910.83-98