Oxford University Museum of Natural History has been a centre of world-leading research and scientific debate since it opened in 1860. The Museum was the location for the 'Great Debate' of 1860 between Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley, and was also host to Nobel prize-winning research on the molecular structure of insulin, penicillin and vitamin B12 by Dorothy Hodgkin.

Research themes

Research in the Museum encompasses geology, palaeobiology and zoology, with a focus on material housed in the extensive Earth and Life collections. Current research strengths include:


The museum has very well-equipped laboratories for palaeontological and zoological imaging and micropalaeontology. Resources include a laser scanner, several multifocal plane microscopes, a desktop scanning electron microscope and a 3D printer. The research group also has strong links with several external partners, facilitating access to computed tomography and synchrotron beamline facilities.

Researchers actively participate in the Museum’s extensive public engagement programme, and are involved in the development of displays and external exhibitions.

Our research is currently funded by AHRC, BBSRC, NSF China, CEPF, the Leverhulme Trust, Nikon and the University of Oxford John Fell Fund, among other sources.

We welcome approaches from early-career researchers who might wish to hold independent research fellowships in the museum.


The Museum has access to microscopes, scanning electron microscopes, a laser scanner and a 3D printer. Find out more or contact us

Research partnerships

Researchers at the Museum collaborate with people and institutions from across the globe.

Explore these partnerships on this interactive, searchable map." width="1800

Visiting Fellowships

Our visiting fellowships scheme funds research visits to work on the Museum's collections for one to two months.

We appointed our 2018–19 visiting fellowships in April 2018.

The 2019-20 visiting fellowship scheme is now open for applications. Please see the fellowship scheme eligiblity and selection criteria and application form for more information on how to apply. The deadline for applications is 30 April 2019.


Image caption for banner image: Lower Cambrian of Ella Ø, North-East Greenland

PhD Opportunities

We are currently advertising for two PhD opportunities at

Appleby Research Scholarship

Oxford University Museum of Natural History is currently inviting applications for the Robert and Valerie Appleby Research Scholarship, a new award to support postgraduate research in the field of vertebrate palaeontology, which can be held at the Museum of Natural History or in the Departments of Zoology or Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford from autumn 2020. Find out more.


AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) PhD studentship for Gender and histories of Arctic field science, 1900-1950

This project provides the opportunity to explore the histories of a range of women in the twentieth-century Arctic, including female scientists, travellers and collectors and their encounters with indigenous people. The project draw upon extensive archival records about the geologist Phyllis Wager and the writer Isobel Wylie Hutchison. The student will also be encouraged to develop a comparative focus to include other key actors involved in gendering the Arctic field sciences. Find out more.

Early Career Research Opportunities

The Museum is happy to provide advice and support to applicants for independent research fellowships. 

If you are interested in applying for funding to work at the Museum, please contact:

Find out more about early career opportunities
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