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University of Cambridge museums win £3m funding

The University of Cambridge’s museums and collections have been awarded £3million funding over the next five years by Research England.

The money is for the care of the UK’s highest concentration of internationally important collections outside London, including more than five million works of art, artefacts and specimens. Nine University of Cambridge museums and collections were awarded the Higher Education Museums, Galleries and Collections (HEMG) funding.

The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Fitzwilliam Museum

Kamal Munir, pro-vice-chancellor for university community and engagement, said: “I’m delighted that Research England has made such a strong statement of support for collections-based research at Cambridge, particularly in a challenging funding landscape. HEMG funding is critical in ensuring our collections support researchers and students across the UK and worldwide, through infrastructure, services, staffing and equitable collaboration.”

Cambridge University Botanic Garden, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle’s Yard, the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (MAA), the Museum of Zoology, the Polar Museum, the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and – for the first time – Cambridge University Herbarium will all benefit.

Sam Brockington, academic lead for the Herbarium, which was recently awarded Designated status, said: “The Herbarium is the fourth-largest of its kind in the country, and a rich resource that supports a huge range of scientific and humanities research. Research supported by the Herbarium ranges from the discovery of species new to science, to the genomics of crop improvement, and investigations into the history and development of scientific ideas and natural history. This investment will enable us to substantially develop our support for the wider academic community.”

Dr Liz Hide, director of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, which is rejoining the portfolio and has been awarded £210,000 a year, said: “Over the next five years, this new investment will be transformative for the Sedgwick Museum, ensuring researchers can fully utilise our new Collections Research Centre, and enabling our outstanding collections to inspire many new avenues of research across both the sciences and the humanities.”

Dr Juliette Fritsch, the university’s first director for collections’ strategy, said: “I’m thrilled to work across the incredible resources contained within the university’s museums, libraries, and botanic garden collections to create strategies together, building on major initiatives, such as the cross-collections Power and Memory programme.

“These integrated approaches enhance our collective impact and are only possible through the input of our funders, including Research England and Arts Council England.”

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