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The Royal Society supports academic researchers in history of science and related disciplines and is host to several active research projects, often generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by associated scholars.

Current projects

Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: the economic, social and cultural history of a learned journal, 1665-2015

Dr Aileen Fyfe, University of St Andrews

This project is researching the definitive history of the commercial and editorial practices of the Philosophical Transactions, using the Royal Society’s archive to compile historical economic data series relating to the book trade, which will be freely available online. In 2015, the project team, including postdoctoral researchers Dr Noah Moxham, Dr Julie McDougall-Waters and Camilla Rostvik, ran a series of anniversary events, celebrating Philosophical Transactions and creating a public forum for discussing the future of scholarly publishing.

Find out more.

Constructing scientific communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st centuries

Professor Sally Shuttleworth, University of Oxford

A Science in Culture Large Grant award, this project brings together historical and literary research in the 19th century with contemporary scientific practice, looking at the ways in which patterns of popular communication and engagement in 19th-century science can offer models for current practice. Postdoctoral researcher: Dr Berris Charnley.

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Making Visible: the visual and graphic practices of the early Royal Society

Dr Sachiko Kusukawa, University of Cambridge

This AHRC research project is investigating the relationship between science and visual culture in seventeenth-century England. The purpose is to understand how art, artists and reproductive-print makers enabled creativity and innovation in science in the 17th century, and to what extent naturalists and natural philosophers, in turn, transformed visual resources and strategies into something of their own. Postdoctoral researchers: Dr Sietske Fransen and Dr Katherine Reinhart.

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Joseph Banks and the making of the Indo-Pacific World

Dr Nigel Rigby, Royal National Maritime Museum, Dr Simon Werrett, University College London, and others

This networking project intends to develop and stage four international workshops: at University College London, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Society.   They will bring together HE, heritage and non-academic sectors, and established and early-career researchers to explore the significance of Sir Joseph Banks to the interaction of European science, culture, religions and empires centred on the Indo-Pacific world in the 18th and 19th centuries. The primary aim is to situate Banks’s career and networks in the history of the Indo-Pacific region as it was remade through exchanges between Europeans and peoples of the Pacific and Indian Oceans between c. 1750 and 1870.

International science and its geographies AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Dr Catherine Souch, the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)

A Collaborative Doctoral Awards partnership to assign three studentships per annum to examine complementary aspects of each institution’s archives of science across all continents and periods. PhD researchers: Hannah Wills at University College London (Charles Blagden’s diary), Matthew Goodman at Glasgow University (19th century geomagnetism), and Catarina Fontoura at Birkbeck, University of London (the Royal Society’s Mato Grosso expedition).

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Science Museums and Archives Consortium (SMAC)

From October 2016, this consortium will award 18 AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral studentships (Partners: Science Museum Group Museums, BT Archives, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society). For the first year, the Society will be home to one studentship studying Emanuel Mendes da Costa (1717-1791) and multicultural and multinational networks in Georgian London under the supervision of Dr Anna Marie Roos, University of Lincoln.

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Robert Hooke’s life and work

Dr Felicity Henderson, University of Exeter

This project aims to recover the work of Royal Society Curator of Experiments and Secretary Robert Hooke (1635-1703) by producing a new annotated list of his papers, a new edition of his diary and the first edition of his correspondence.

Find out more.

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