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:

‘Preservation of geological collections’

Mineral specimens, despite their apparent stability, are prone to deterioration in museum environments. Currently available methodologies are not suitable for routine collection monitoring, as results are not necessarily replicable, and, in the absence of guidance on suitable storage conditions, triggers and the suitability of conservation actions are difficult to determine. We need a more robust approach to the delivery of preventative conservation of geological collections. This studentship, based at the University of Oxford and in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and BSRIA Ltd, addresses these issues. The student will define what kind of material change in minerals constitutes damage; develop a protocol for routine monitoring of museum geological collections for potential damage; establish optimum environmental and minimum air quality standards for different types of minerals; and test rigorously the suitability of conservation treatments that are presently available.

Project supervision:

Academic supervisor – Professor Heather Viles, University of Oxford
Heritage supervisors – Dr Christian Baars and Dr Jana Horák,
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
Industrial supervisor – Ian Wallis, BSRIA Ltd

 Application deadline:  10am, Thursday 22nd June 2017.

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

In the context of heritage preservation, boxes are a very well established method of storage of archival material and serve a variety of purposes: as physical protection (e.g. during handling), as a buffer against adverse effects of the environment (e.g. T and RH fluctuations, absorption of pollutants), against pests and as protection against fire and water. Boxes represent a long-term investment and need to last several decades as re-boxing is resource intensive. Therefore, their cost-benefit needs to be modelled, which is the purpose of this cross-disciplinary project, likely to have an immediate impact on the field.

This research project will be supervised jointly by Professor Matija Strlic, UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Caroline De Stefani, London Metropolitan Archives and Dirk Hendrickx, Conservation by Design Ltd (industrial sponsor).

Application deadline: Open until filled.

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

Many famous works of modern art and design found in museum collections are made of plastics.  However, despite being relatively “young”, plastic objects can be among the most fragile artefacts, with material degradation sometimes reported within a few years of acquisition by a museum.  Degradation of plastic objects is complex, involving multiple processes such as the diffusion of substances through the material and chemical responses to environmental parameters such as temperature and light.  The way such processes interact as a complex system within a single object, is not well understood.  This project, based at UCL and in partnership with Tate and Conservation by Design will address this problem.  The proposed approach uses system dynamics and will model multiple degradation processes as a single system of partial differential equations, which can then be solved and validated.  This research will thus both develop a new method of modelling 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 Dr Luca Mazzei, UCL

Heritage supervisors: Dr Joyce Townsend and Deborah Cane, Tate

Industrial supervisor: Laurent Martin, Conservation by Design

Application deadline: 6pm Monday, 31st July 2017

The following opportunities have now closed:

‘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