The National Galleries of Scotland frequently collaborates with other organisations on research projects. These include researchers from higher education institutions who contribute to catalogues and other research activities including:
- The King over the Water: Portraits of the Stuarts in Exile after 1689 (2001) with Edward Corp, University of Paris (now Toulouse)
- Monet: the Seine and the Sea (2003) with Richard Thomson, University of Edinburgh
- The Age of Titian (2004) with Peter Humfrey, University of St Andrews, and Michael Bury, University of Edinburgh
- Visiting Picasso: The Notebooks and Letters of Roland Penrose (2006) with Elizabeth Cowling, University of Edinburgh, using Picasso archives at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The National Galleries of Scotland is also active in the Visual Arts Research Institute, Edinburgh (VARIE). This was established in 1999 to instigate, support and disseminate research initiatives undertaken by its Partner Institutions: The University of Edinburgh, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art. The Universities of St. Andrews and Glasgow are Associate Members.
In addition, staff members regularly gain fellowships for travel and research, and act as external advisers on scholarly projects. Almost every staff member belongs and contributes to professional organisations, such as Print Room Curators, Scottish Art History Association, CODART, etc.