PhD Studentship: Preservation of Geological Collections in Museums

University of Oxford

4-year PhD studentship available to start September 2018

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 for, 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.

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

Full information about the project can be found at:

Academic entry criteria: We welcome students with any good chemistry, engineering, mineralogy, geochemistry or geosciences undergraduate qualifications.

Training path: The student will be part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training SEAHA (Science and Engineering for Arts, Heritage and Archaeology). Students will register for the one-year MRes SEAHA at UCL in year 1 and then register at the University of Oxford for years 2-4 of the studentship. The student will be encouraged to spend time working in the laboratories at the National Museum Cardiff.

Funding: The SEAHA Studentship will cover home fees and a stipend of up to a maximum of £18,654 per year (current rate) for eligible applicants (, and a substantial budget for research, travel, and cohort activities. EU students may be eligible for fees only and non-EU applicants are not eligible for funding.

Enquiries: Please contact the academic supervisor for further information (

Application deadline: midday on Friday, January 12th (interviews most likely to be held on January 25th)

How to apply:

Your application should include:

  • A substantial covering letter (2-3 pages) including:

- a clear explanation of your motivation for applying for this project

- a statement of your understanding of your eligibility according to the information provided at: and

  • A short research proposal (max. 2000 words) taking into consideration the project research questions
  • A full CV
  • Contact details for two academic references (names, postal and email addresses)
  • Proof of meeting the UCL English language proficiency requirements where necessary. For SEAHA candidates, an advanced level certificate is normally required (details of English language proficiency requirements can be found at:

The application should be submitted by email direct to the University of Oxford SEAHA Administrator and not by the UCL online admissions system.

Dr Julie Eklund

University of Oxford SEAHA Administrator

School of Geography and the Environment

University of Oxford,

South Parks Road

Oxford  OX1 3QY

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