PhD in Experimental micro-mechanics applied to cultural heritage paintings

PhD in Experimental micro-mechanics applied to cultural heritage paintings

Published Deadline Location
20 Mar 31 Aug Eindhoven
Are you an engineer fascinated by cultural heritage? Do you want to work in an exciting multidisciplinary team? We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic PhD candidate to work on a challenging experimental micro-mechanics project to characterize the multi-physical response of canvas paintings.

Job description

VANGOGH (Unravelling and predicting degradation of canvas paintings: a multiscale and multiphysics framework) is a challenging research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant). We are currently building a team of talented and enthusiastic researchers to work on this exciting research program.

Traditional canvas paintings represent an inestimable cultural legacy, holding artistic and historical value. At the same time, however, from an engineering perspective, canvas paintings are also sophisticated multiphase hierarchical systems subjected to complex loading conditions triggered by the interaction between multiple physical fields. This complicated scenario may result in different degradation mechanisms, including wrinkling of the painting surface, cracking, delamination, and flaking of the paint, which crucially affect the appearance, integrity, and longevity of the artworks.

The goal of this PhD project is to unravel the origin of the multiscale and multiphysics processes affecting the degradation response of canvas paintings, by means of advanced experimental methodologies framed in the context of experimental micro-mechanics.

You will work in the chair of Applied Mechanics, Department of the Built Environment, under the supervision of dr. Emanuela Bosco and dr. Johan Hoefnagels. The chair of Applied Mechanics is responsible for education and research in the field mechanics, working on multi-scale, multi-physics and optimization problems related to the built environment. The chair is a member of the Graduate School on Engineering Mechanics, Netherlands. This graduate school offers the PhD students an advanced training program in the field of Engineering Mechanics, of which the core is formed by a joint series of advanced graduate courses that are closely connected to state-of-the-art research themes.

You will carry out the experiments at the Multiscale Mechanics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Building Physics and Services Laboratory, Department of the Built Environment. The Multiscale Mechanics laboratory, led by dr. Johan Hoefnagels, bridges the gap between traditional materials science and mechanical characterization labs, by integrating micro-mechanical testing with real-time and in-situ microscopic observation. The Building Physics and Services laboratory has a large experience in research projects related to environmental monitoring for museums.

You will closely interact with other PhD students (both numerical and experimental), who work on other aspects of the degradation response of cultural heritage materials.

The project is embedded within NICAS (Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science), and received the support of important national and international museums and cultural heritage institutions (Rijskmuseum NL, CBC - Conservazione Beni Culturali, The Getty Conservation Institute, …).


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • A talented, motivated and enthusiastic researcher. Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are highly desired.
  • A MSc-degree in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Physics or Materials Science, or equivalent degrees.
  • Interest to work in an interdisciplinary project that applies a mechanics mindset to the field of cultural heritage.
  • A strong background in mechanics of materials is required. Experience in experimental (micro-)mechanics is of benefit. Knowledge on chemistry is a plus. Experience with Matlab or Phython for data processing is of benefit.
  • Excellent oral and writing skills in English.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Additional information

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr. Emanuela Bosco,

For information about terms of employment, please contact

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application through the Apply Button. The application should include a:
  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.


  • PhD
  • Engineering; Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V38.7341


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 31 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).