SEAHA will support your career along three typical paths. We have started recruitment for our 2015/2016 studentships, please continue to check the website over the coming weeks for new opportunities. Information on how to apply can be found in the project adverts below. You may also wish to consider registering your interest by sending an email to the SEAHA Centre Manager.

Current opportunities available to start in 2016/17:

‘The role of plasticiser loss in the degradation of plastic objects in heritage collections’

This exciting project aims to answer these questions. The dynamics of degradation of PVC and CA will be investigated using a combination of novel experimental techniques. Plasticizer concentrations will be tracked using hyperspectral imaging, and the resulting deformation will be measured using digital image correlation, amongst other techniques. By exploring the relationships between degradation and environmental parameters, this research will provide crucial evidence that will inform preventive conservation and storage conditions. The project will be supervised by the Institute for Sustainable Heritage in University College London (Dr. Josep Grau-Bové and Dr. Katherine Curran), the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (Dr. Odile Madden) and Dow Chemical (Dr. Michael Petr). The candidate will have the opportunity to work both in the Heritage Science Laboratory in UCL and in the Smithsonian Institute.

Application deadline: Friday 1st July 2016

‘Learning from nature: evaluating site-based conservation approaches to mitigating climatic risks to earthen heritage sites in N W China’

Large concentrations of historic earthen sites are found along the Silk Roads, such as in arid NW China where many heritage sites contain earthen remains (usually rammed earth with some mud brick). These ruins are deteriorating rapidly, often in response to climatic hazards such as storms, and the Chinese authorities are worried about their resilience in the face of future environmental change. Nature-based (or biometic) conservation strategies, using local plants may provide a solution to this problem. This studentship provides a unique opportunity to contribute to improved nature-based conservation methods for such earthen sites, through developing cellular automata-based modeling approaches to evaluate their performance under changing environmental conditions. The student will be jointly supervised by Prof Heather Viles and Dr Richard Bailey (University of Oxford), Dr Tom Learner (Getty Conservation Institute) and Professor Wang Xudong (Dunhuang Academy).

Application deadline: Thursday 30th June 2016

‘Improving the evaluation of conservation treatments for deteriorating sandstone in built heritage’

Many of the world’s greatest built heritage sites are crafted in sandstone, which often deteriorates rapidly posing major challenges for conservators. Many treatments have been proposed (such as consolidants, water repellents and anti-graffiti coatings). What is now needed is to develop a robust methodology to test the performance of these treatments under real-world conditions. This studentship addresses this knowledge gap, through a developmental sequence of laboratory and field experiments.  The student will be jointly supervised by Prof Heather Viles (University of Oxford), Dr Tom Learner (Getty Conservation Institute) and Alistair Kerrigan (TQC).

Application deadline: Thursday 30th June 2016

‘Making the Antikythera Mechanism: Rebuilding Technology that changed History’ This studentship offers an outstanding opportunity to explore the making of the Antikythera Mechanism – an extraordinary ancient Greek astronomical calculating machine. This is a unique and exciting cross-disciplinary research program, focused on answering key issues, such as how the Mechanism was constructed, calibrated and used. X-ray CT and surface imaging data, gathered in 2005, reveal the details of each component and will form the basis of experimental models, designed to investigate the early language of mechanical engineering and the first steps in the development of computing machines. The project will be jointly supervised by University College London, Matelect Ltd and the Computer History Museum in California.

Application deadline: open until filled.

The following opportunities have now closed:

‘Strain modelling in historical tapestries’

This studentship will investigate cutting edge real-time in-situ tri-axial strain monitoring sensors to provide data to inform analytical modelling of tapestries using Finite Elements and explicit mathematical formulations together with modern Dynamic Equilibrium methods used in fabric simulations. The project will be jointly supervised by the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering , UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces and IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

‘Micro-environmental control for the mitigation of mould growth in indoor heritage’

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on experimental research, environmental design and preventive conservation. Experiments will be carried out in environmental chambers with controlled T, RH and air velocity conditions, as well as monitoring in actual historical properties in order to explore the conditions for mould growth. The environmental research will focus on the development of a science-based solution to the micro-management of environmental conditions. This project will be jointly supervised by UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UCL Chemical Engineering , Tobit Curteis Associates and the National Trust.

‘Mary Rose: Assessment of Environmental Risks during Display’

This exciting project aims to understand the environment surrounding the Mary Rose, the Tudor warship salvaged in 1982 in one of the most complex and ambitious projects of maritime archaeology. The student involved in this innovative research will study the gaseous pollutants of outdoor origin and generated indoors due to the decay of archaeological wood, and will investigate their unknown effects on the exposed materials. This project combines the expertise on sensors of the National Physical Laboratory, materials and environment of UCL, and conservation knowledge of the Mary Rose Trust.

‘Nanoscale strategies for the consolidation of cellulose in cultural heritage’

This studentship will investigate the use and development of nano-cellulose and modified nano-cellulose with nanoparticles for the strengthening and deacidification of damaged fibres in modern and historical canvases. This project brings together nanometrology, functional chemistry and cultural heritage to tackle this challenging problem. This project fits within the newly awarded H2020 NanoRestart project and will enable the student to work and meet a large consortium of conservation specialists across Europe. The studentship will be jointly supervised by the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, Birkbeck College Biological Sciences, Chevalier-Aurelia SME and ZFB Zentrum für Bucherhaltung GmbH, Germany.

‘Characterising marine archaeological iron degradation and the efficacy of treatments to date: worth a shot?’

This project offers the outstanding opportunity to spend up to 12 months at Diamond Light Source, applying cutting edge techniques to investigate the corrosion of archaeological iron through the analysis of material from Henry VIII’s iconic flagship Mary Rose. The wreck provides a unique sample set of around 900 examples of iron shot and other artefacts, which have undergone various treatments and experienced varied storage conditions. These will be investigated using synchrotron XRD and XAS along with SEM techniques.  The project is supervised by UCL Institute of Archaeology, Diamond Light Source, Mary Rose Trust and EURA Conservation.

‘From Samples to Complex Objects: Detecting Material Degradation in Plastic Artworks’

This project will investigate whether it is possible to demonstrate a correlation between volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and key signs of deterioration in common plastics within contemporary art collections and whether and how this information can be deployed within collections to identify works that require examination or to monitor mitigation and preventive measures.  This project will be jointly supervised by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UCL Department of Chemistry, Tate and Arkema.

‘An optimised system for Multispectral Imaging of Documentary Material’

This cross-disciplinary project applies multispectral imaging techniques to the emerging field of digital humanities in the multispectral imaging of documents to enhance the reading of lost text, corrections and watermarks. In this project, you will characterise and validate multispectral imaging for use in the cultural and heritage sectors. The project will be supervised jointly by UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering and UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, R B Toth Associates, British Library and London Metropolitan Archives.

‘Comparison of painting lining methods for historic house environments’

An excellent opportunity for a student wishing to develop skills in a range of mechanical and spectroscopic techniques, including digital image correlation, dynamic mechanical analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance and near infrared spectroscopy. This project will be jointly supervised by UCL Department of History of Art , UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, EH Collections Conservation Team and LaVision UK Ltd.

‘Spectrally dependent light sensitivity of modern materials’

This is an exciting project for candidates looking to build knowledge and skills in material and polymer science, illumination technologies, radiometry, photometry and colorimetry, as well as the conduct of colour appearance experiments with groups of observers and statistical analysis of experimental data. This project will be jointly supervised by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, Philips Research and the V&A.

‘Hyperspectral imaging for heritage: From books to bricks’ 

This is an exciting project for candidates looking to build knowledge and skills in material science, spectroscopic techniques, product development (equipment and technique), and the use of non-standard software for visualising and interpreting hyperspectral data. This challenging interdisciplinary project will enable you to seek employment in any number of multidisciplinary environments: from academia to industry. The project will be supervised jointly by The University of Oxford School of Geography and the environment , UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, The Bodleian Libraries and Headwall Photonics.    

Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts Heritage and Archaeology