Available studentships

SEAHA will support your career along three typical paths. We have started recruitment for our 2017/2018 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 2017/18:

3D Hyperspectral Imaging of Heritage

Art and heritage surfaces often have a 3D structure that requires either objects or cameras to be moved in order to keep the surface in focus. Movement of objects during imaging is often difficult for conservation or practical reasons, particularly of large objects. For 3D objects, the camera would ideally freely move in the space. Maximum freedom of movement could be enabled using an articulated robotic arm, which would need to carry not only the camera but the illumination system as well. Depth information could also be derived from two cameras pointing at the surface at an angle, i.e. stereo-imaging. We are looking for an excellent applicant with a science or engineering degree to join us and explore and develop the most advanced hyperspectral system available globally and, pushing the boundaries of imaging beyond anything currently possible. The studentship project will look at mosaicking of hyperspectral information, spatial information as extracted from hyperspectral stereo-imaging and imaging using a robotically enabled hyperspectral imaging system.

Academic supervisors – Professor Adam Gibson, Professor Matija Strlic (University College London)

Heritage supervisor – Robert van Langh (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Industrial supervisor – Dr John Gilchrist (Camlin Group Ltd)

Application Deadline noon, Friday 1th September 2017

Retrofitting space heating systems for historic churches: meeting the needs of conservation, community and environmental sustainability

Historic churches are facing significant challenges in recent years in meeting increasingly demanding “quality of life” standards whilst they are used in broadening and hosting social engagements within the community.  To put this in context, the Church of England owns over 15,000 churches.  Of these, 78% are listed (45% of the Grade I listed buildings in England), of which over half actively host some form of community activity.  The environmental thermal requirements of modern activities in historic churches are often in conflict with the original nature of these buildings, their historic connotation, the building materials, and in meeting user comfort while at the same time presenting and aligning to the concepts of a sustainable society. The demand for solutions becomes even more critical when such buildings are faced with renovating their building services, usually due to a need to either preserve the building or achieve required comfort conditions to continue to sustain its occupation. This research aims to address this challenge by generating new knowledge to enable the evaluation and implementation of space heating technologies in historic churches, thereby increasing the environmental and social sustainability of the building while taking into consideration relevant constraints such as the preservation of the structure and artefacts as well the anticipated community activities.

Academic supervisors – Dr Kenneth Ip, Dr Marco Picco, Dr Arman Hashem (University of Brighton)

Heritage supervisor – Fr. Lawrence MacLean (Diocese of Chichester)

Industrial supervisor – Dr David Greenfield (SOcial, ENvironmental & EConomic Solutions Ltd.)

Application Deadline 5 pm, Tuesday 29th August 2017

Plastics in Museum Collections – a study of their chemical and physical degradation using a System Dynamics approach

This project will view museum artefacts in a new way: as complex systems which undergo multiple, inter-related chemical and physical processes.  Focussing on plastic objects, which are found in increasing numbers in museum collections, and present significant problems in relation to their stability, the successful student will conduct experiments that seek to understand these processes and their inter-relationships in more depth.  The project is based at UCL, in partnership with the Museum of London and Lacerta Technology Ltd.  The research will involve degradation experiments and laboratory-based materials analysis using techniques such as Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).  The student will also perform on-site analysis at the Museum of London using portable, non-destructive analytical techniques.  This research aims to develop a new approach to understanding material degradation that can be applied in many fields, such as medicine or defence, and provide practical solutions for heritage professionals, such as providing guidance on controlling museum storage environments.

Academic supervisors: Dr Katherine Curran and Prof Ivan Parkin, UCL

Heritage supervisors: Abigail Moore, Museum of London

Industrial supervisor: Dr John Duncan, Lacerta Technology Ltd

Application deadline: 20th August 2017, 5PM GMT

The following opportunities have now closed:

‘What lies beneath? High resolution imaging of lichen-covered surfaces at Stonehenge’

‘Modelling the chemical and physical degradation of plastic objects in museum collections using a System Dynamics approach’

‘Preservation of geological collections’

‘Thinking out of the box – modelling preventive conservation benefits of boxes’


‘Development of a robust methodology for assessing moisture in solid brick walls’

‘Engineering and archaeological in construction and conservation work: Developing interdisciplinary technologies and methodologies’

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

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

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

‘Near Infrared Hyperspectral imaging of historic building materials’

‘Novel Retrofit Technology Incorporating Robots for Lower Energy Healthy Buildings’

‘Novel neutron techniques for the non-destructive and non-invasive analysis of archaeological gold’

‘Strain modelling in historical tapestries’

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

‘Total Performance of ‘Passivhaus’ Schools – Making Heritage Schools Fit for Purpose’

‘Visualisation of semantically linked data to support the interpretation of cultural heritage collections’


‘An optimised system for Multispectral Imaging of Documentary Material’

‘Building Information Models from monitoring and simulation data in heritage buildings’

Characterisation and implementation of new illuminations and their effect on the museum visitor’

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

‘Comparison of painting lining methods for historic house environments’

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

‘Hyperspectral imaging for heritage: From books to bricks’ 

‘Mary Rose: Assessment of Environmental Risks during Display’

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

‘Reigate Stone at the Tower of London: Developing preventive conservation strategies for problem stones’

‘Spectrally dependent light sensitivity of modern materials’


‘Collection surveys as part of library document supply chain’

‘Integrating Spectral and 3D imaging for monitoring cultural heritage objects’

‘Lighting policies for collections using microfadeometry’

‘Online Collections Modelling Tool’

‘Painting mortars for controlling driving-rain ingress in damp towers’

‘Photo-degradation of polymer-based rapid-prototype materials and their conservation through naontechnology-based treatments’

‘Quantitative chemical Hyperspectral NIR imaging of historical cellulosic materials’

‘Smells of Heritage’

‘Wet Walls: Developing 4D moisture survey techniques for stone masonry’


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