PhD Candidate The value appraisal of high-value artworks

PhD Candidate The value appraisal of high-value artworks

Published Deadline Location
6 Jul 14 Aug Maastricht

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Maastricht University is seeking a PhD Candidate to join the NWO funded public-private research consortium Priceless Assets of Subversion: Financial Crime and the Valuation of Unique Goods (PRICELESS).

Note, this is one of two PhD positions within the PRICELESS project that are currently being advertised.

Job description

As a PhD Candidate in PRICELESS you will investigate the value appraisal of works of art (including crypto art and NFTs) across professional contexts and different public and private stakeholders from an anthropological and sociological perspective.

The main research question of your PhD project is how does high-value art get appraised? This involves the following key dimensions: which individuals and organisations are involved in appraisal processes? Which devices and techniques do they deploy in appraising art? Which individuals and organisations commission appraisals and for which purposes (e.g. tax filings, insurance, accounting, or financial assetization)? In addressing these questions, your research will aim at 1) mapping the (networks of) actors and the factors of valuation and revaluation processes and practices, and 2) understanding the authoritative norms and forms of appraisal expertise.

In this four-year academic position, you will conduct research leading to a final dissertation. You will work with the supervisors, as well as with the greater PRICELESS consortium to achieve project goals and produce project outputs. You will also participate in PRICELESS consortium events, outreach activities, and research meetings. The PRICELESS consortium consists of a large group of both public and private partners, allowing for a mutually beneficial networking and research experience. A percentage of your time may be dedicated to gaining teaching experience.

This PhD project will be supervised by Christoph Rausch (Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH), Maastricht University) and Olav Velthuis (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam).



Maastricht University (UM)


The ideal candidate for this position:

  • Has earned a master's degree in anthropology, sociology, or a closely related discipline (including art history and cultural studies)
  • Has experience in conducting research and analysing data on (art) appraisal practices and/or markets in high value unique goods such as the art market
  • Has experience in qualitative research
  • Has a high proficiency in spoken and written English and Dutch (or a willingness to learn)

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 + 3 years.

As a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, you will be employed by the most international university of the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:

  • Good employment conditions. The position is in grated in scale P according to the UFO profile PhD Candidate, with corresponding salary ranging from € 2.541 to € 3.247 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus are applicable.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • As a holder of the 'Family-friendly University' quality mark, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, Click here


Maastricht University

Why work at Maastricht University?

At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.  

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.  

Click here for more information about UM.


Faculty of Science and Engineering

At the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) we focus on themes such as circularity and sustainability, future farming, digitisation and (scientific) instrument development. FSE's leading projects, like the Einstein Telescope Pathfinder, are sure to grab anyone's attention. The Faculty is a vibrant hub of education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). At FSE, over 450 staff members and 3150 students gather to explore exciting interdisciplinary research and educational programmes. Feel welcome, be part of our team and put your brilliant mind to work!

FSE at the Brightlands Campuses  

Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Heerlen and Venlo, the homes of four creative Brightlands campuses, are bustling with 30,000 entrepreneurs, researchers and students working diligently to solve global challenges. The Faculty of Science and Engineering is active on all four Brightlands campuses and this is where our impact reaches its peak. To give you an idea of what is happening on each campus: Sittard-Geleen is home to one of the largest chemistry and materials sites in Europe, while Venlo is a large hub for agri-food innovation. Maastricht is the site of the Health Campus, and Heerlen is the place to be for Smart Services.


Crimes involving high-value unique goods (HVUG), such as luxury items and works of art, have evolved in one surprising way: where the lure for criminals once lay in stealing or forging such objects, it now lies in transforming them into financialized assets, for instance to obscure transactions, to launder money, or to hide wealth and evade sanctions. Key to the assetization of unique goods is their valuation, upon which subsequent collateralization, securitization, and derivation depends. To better understand and tackle proven vulnerabilities to subversive (financial) crime, this innovative project analyses contested practices of value appraisal, insurance, and accounting, and examines how they can become corrupted. While many different parties are involved in the valuation of unique goods, they each use different methods and rarely exchange relevant data, often due to privacy constraints. However, sharing information is crucial to understanding how the valuation of assetized unique goods is malleable and subject to manipulation. PRICELESS builds on a successful, established collaborative network between public and private partners in the Netherlands to map and mitigate associated risks of criminal subversion. The project combines qualitative and quantitative research into the assetization of high-value artworks (including crypto art and NFTs) and expensive (pre- owned) watches with the promising method of financial crime scripting to reveal how (non-banking) financial services and legal arbitrage practices facilitate dangerous schemes of subversive crime. Adapting innovative privacy-preserving technologies to allow for data, information and intelligence sharing between private and public organizations, PRICELESS improves resilience through better standards, controls, regulation, and policing.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Economics; Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2023.323


Maastricht University (UM)

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Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN, Maastricht

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