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Visiting Researchers

Policy and procedures

The Department of History at Durham offers a Visiting Academic Programme and applications for visits of up to one year are welcomed from researchers at all stages of their careers.

For the purposes of this document and the procedures outlined below ‘visiting academics’ are generally active researchers based at other Higher Education institutions in the UK or abroad or interested professionals from the worlds of museums and heritage. Typically, they may be engaged in joint publication with Durham staff or writing grant applications and, during their stay in Durham, they will be encouraged to make use of the University’s facilities and libraries as well as attend academic activities usually closed to the general public.

Please note there is a separate policy and procedure for visiting Postgraduate Research students.

Durham has one of the largest History Departments in the UK, offering an outstanding range of research and teaching expertise. The Department has established itself firmly as one of the top three in the UK, ranked second in the 2019 Complete University Guide. Staff and students are part of a vibrant learning community, set within the magnificent location of Durham’s World Heritage Site. Our research and teaching extends from late antiquity to contemporary history; from the British Isles and continental Europe (including Russia) to the USA, Africa and East and South Asia; and across social, cultural, gender, visual, political and economic history.

Research within the History Department is organised not only geographically and chronologically, but thematically. Research themes are central to our departmental research culture. We believe that they facilitate the generation of transnational, transhistorical and comparative work that tends to be the hallmark of ground-breaking historical research.

Academic visitors - our objectives

We would like Academic visitors to contribute positively to the overall research and learning environment of our department. The aims of your visit could be to:

  • Participate in the organisation of an event within the History Department (seminar, workshop, conference)
  • Collaborate in research projects, publications and grant preparation
  • Participate actively in one of the research groups (by arrangement with the leader of the research group)
  • Invite or organise a reciprocal visit to your own institution for a member/ members of the Department or graduate students
  • Enhance the research community of the Department through active participation in academic life at Durham, for example through your participation in our various projects and centres
  • Provide the History Department staff and students with the opportunity to work with and learn from academics from outside Durham
  • A University Card, giving access to our library and IT facilities
  • A host sponsor from the History Department staff, who will meet with you and provide guidance and advice when you first arrive in Durham
  • Full access to the Durham University Library and all other University Library Services
  • Access to electronic holdings, databases and journals
  • Permission to join in the activities of the various discussion groups and seminars that are active during term time
  • A personal email address which will be added to our associate staff mailing list, so that you can be notified of any events that may be of interest or relevance
  • Permission to attend other History Department talks, lectures and events, as appropriate
  • Permission to identify themselves as 'Visiting Researcher, Durham University History Department' during your stay in Durham

Provision of resources

Once your visit is approved, you will receive:

The Department does not provide financial support for travel, accommodation or subsistence. Scholars are responsible for ensuring that they have the correct travel documentation, including the correct entry visas required by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration Service (UKVI).

Unfortunately, the History Department is not able to provide office space for visiting academics. However, there is usually study space available in the University Libraries. Palace Green Library is a short walk from the Department. Durham University also provides wireless access points, to which visitors will have access. Academic visitors are therefore welcome to bring their own laptops with them, but should be aware that all laptops must have suitable and regularly updated anti-virus software, and must have up-to-date critical updates for Windows. Macintosh computers are also supported by the University’s IT department.


Most applications are for shorter stays of between 3 days and 3 months, although we will consider applications for longer stays in order to allow scholars to engage with academics working in related fields, for example to prepare grant applications. Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan their stay to cover at least part of an academic term, in order to maximise their exposure to the research community in the History Department.

The role of the sponsor

Although you will be independent and responsible for your own research activities and work agenda whilst in Durham, the Department considers it a priority for visiting academics to be welcomed into our research community and be integrated as far as practicable into the work of the History Department. A key part in this process is played by the sponsor who must be willing to indicate clearly that they are familiar with the applicant's work and/or research area and support the application.

Upon arrival at Durham, the visiting academic’s sponsor will introduce the scholar to other members of the research community at Durham. They will also invite visiting academics to any events being organised by the History Department, and will otherwise be available to provide assistance. The sponsor should also facilitate the visiting academic’s active contribution to research at Durham’s History Department.

Difficulties may arise if the sponsor is not present for the full duration of a scholar's research stay. If this is the case the sponsor is responsible for approaching a second member of staff who will provide support in their absence.


Visitors are not charged to cover the costs of the administration involved with the visit. However, Durham History Department does not provide a salary or other payments to visitors. Visitors should apply for research funding schemes through their own home institution or equivalent. The academic visitor is responsible for his/her own travel, accommodation and maintenance costs as well as ensuring that they have the correct travel documentation, including visas.

Visas and work permits

Durham History Department can supply an official letter of invitation to an Academic.

Visitor that can be used to support any application for funding that is made, but unfortunately the History Department cannot assist the applicant with their application for a visa or work permit for the purpose of the visit.


Visitors will be asked to provide the History Department with a short biography and a statement of what they intend to do during their visit prior to their arrival (see 8 below). This information may then be posted on the Academic Visitors' section of the Department's website. This information can be amended upon request.

At the end of their stay, visitors will be asked to provide a short report to be attached to their web profile, providing a brief account of any research or other activities undertaken and how they have contributed to the Department during their stay.

In addition, the History Department requests that any visitor who uses his/her visit for research purposes, and subsequently publishes material arising from this research, acknowledge the department, but also send the Department a copy or off-print of any book, article or any other publication which results from their time in Durham.

Application procedure

Applications will be accepted at any point during the year and will not be restricted to University term time. The application takes the form of an online application form, CV, reference, a short statement of interests and activities to be undertaken (1500 words), intended duration of stay and the name of the nominated sponsor, with a short statement of support (100 words max). Your proposal will be considered by the Department’s Research Committee against the expectations outlined above. We strongly recommend you apply well in advance of your proposed visit dates.



It is the responsibility of the Visiting academic to ensure that they have somewhere to stay during their time in Durham. Unfortunately, the History Department cannot assist in any way in helping a Visitor to find somewhere to stay. Please be advised that accommodation in Durham city centre can be very expensive and is in high demand especially during the summer months. Details on finding accommodation in and around Durham city is available on the University relocation website.

Accommodation in Durham is expensive and you should budget to pay approximately £500-600 month for one/two bed privately rented accommodation. 

Visiting Academic Application form