PhD Researcher 'Historical Bio-Based Treatment Methods for Heritage Conservation'

PhD Researcher 'Historical Bio-Based Treatment Methods for Heritage Conservation'

Published Deadline Location
20 Sep 15 Oct Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you looking for a challenging position in a dynamic setting? The Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM) currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the GoGREEN project, led by principal investigator Prof. Katrien Keune. AHM is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research.

The Programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at UvA, where the PhD will be located, hosts the only academic conservation training programme in the Netherlands. It is affiliated to the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS), and shares its conservation and research laboratories with the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

What are you going to do?

This PhD will investigate historical recipes for conservation treatments (focused on cleaning of painted surfaces and tarnished silver, and on the stabilisation of active corrosion of glass/ceramic and metal objects). Such recipes were developed in a low-tech environment using natural, unrefined, non-synthetic materials and may provide inspiration for green(er) alternatives to current methods. Using recipe analysis, reconstruction and chemical characterisation, the PhD will select methods for further development, towards their integration into conservation practice.

The PhD position is offered within the EU Horizon-CL2-2021 Heritage project "GoGREEN: green strategies to conserve the past and preserve the future of Cultural Heritage", a four-year research project with 12 partners (universities, museums and research institutes) from 5 European countries and 2 affiliated countries. GoGREEN responds to the UN 17 sustainable development goals by providing conservators with solutions to practice conservation with lower energy consumption, less toxic materials and fewer plastics. Within the project, we develop theory, tools, materials, decision making aids and educational material that will support conservators in choosing and applying green strategies, both for preventive and remedial conservation.

This PhD research is executed at UvA; the PhD project is executed in close collaboration with the University of Bologna and the Haute Ecole Arc Conservation Restauration in Neuchâtel. Historically inspired methods will be tested in parallel with newly engineered methods (bio-based, non-toxic, renewable) developed by these partners, and the PhD research is executed in collaboration with researchers from these institutes.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • submission of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • participating in GoGREEN meetings;
  • contributing to the wider goals of GoGREEN work packages 3 and 4 (development of new green materials for remedial conservation);
  • publishing three peer reviewed articles (PhD thesis is article-based);
  • contributing to educational material (written, video) for conservators on the topic of the PhD;
  • presenting intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • (co-)organising knowledge dissemination activities;
  • participation in the Research School and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


We are looking for a curious team player with excellent research and writing skills; someone who shows initiative within their own research project as well as in reaching out to others within the international GoGREEN consortium; who generously contributes to the interdisciplinary collaboration GoGREEN wishes for, and who likes open, interdisciplinary discussion.

Your profile:
  • a completed Master's degree in conservation, conservation science or technical art history, focused on moveable cultural heritage. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master's degree only if you provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 1 January 2023;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis and a demonstrable capacity to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research and publication;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • excellent command of English in speech and writing, reading skills in German, French. Reading skills in Italian and/or Spanish would be a plus;
  • a proven capacity to set up hands-on experiments exploring material properties (preferably related to conservation);
  • insight into issues surrounding the conservation of art objects, and into the chemical properties of materials used in arts and conservation.
A CV that includes practical conservation is a plus, as is a background demonstrating earlier successful participation in collaborations between chemistry and practical conservation.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary employment contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The employment contract is for 38 hours a week. The preferred starting date is 1 January 2023.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week, ranges from € 2,541 up to a maximum of € 3,247. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer
  • PhD candidates receive a tuition fee waiver;
  • PhD candidates have free access to courses offered by the Graduate School of Humanities and the Dutch National Research Schools;
  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education;
  • an enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team;
  • an active PhD community at the Research School and the Faculty.


Faculty of Humanities

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you wish to have additional information about the GoGREEN project? Please contact:


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 10422


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012CX, Amsterdam

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