PhD studentship The conservation of polymeric materials in museum collections using advanced surface science and surface analysis techniques (with the Victoria & Albert museum)

Supervisors: Dr David McPhail and Dr Brenda Keneghan (V&A)

Duration: 36 months

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship for three years offered as an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Collaborative Doctoral Award between Imperial College London (Imperial) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)*.  This is an exciting opportunity for a science graduate with an interest in the arts to apply the principles of surface science and surface analysis to the conservation of polymeric materials in museum collections.  This joint studentship between the Department of Materials, Imperial, and the Conservation Science Section, V&A, will commence in October 2013.  The doctorate will be jointly supervised by Dr David McPhail (Imperial) and Dr Brenda Keneghan (V&A).

We are seeking applications from enthusiastic graduates for a PhD studentship to study the surface topography and surface chemistry of polymeric materials following exposure to selected chemical agents. The ultimate goal of the project will be to understand the immediate effects of selected solvents and other potential cleaning methods (e.g. solid CO2) on various polymeric materials found in the extensive collections of the V&A.

The studentship will be based in Imperial College, with regular interaction with conservation scientists at the V&A. You will work within a team of dynamic PhD Students and Research Associates, in newly refurbished laboratories on the South Kensington Campus. You will have access to advanced characterization facilities within the department (including SIMS, LEIS, FIB SIMS, Titan 80/300 TEM/STEM and the recently funded ambient pressure photoelectron spectroscopy (APPES).

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You will have an upper second or first class degree or equivalent in materials, chemistry, physics or a related discipline. This 3-year studentship will begin in October 2013.  Due to funding restrictions for those meeting the criterion of having been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship will cover fees at the home/EU rate plus the standard maintenance stipend of £15,590 per annum and an additional £3,000 are available form the V&A towards appropriate travel and research expenses over the studentship.  Both partners will provide opportunities for training and career development, including a new joint training programme for all Collaborative Doctoral Award students supported by London-based National Museums, the British Library and the National Archives.  The successful student must also meet residency eligibility requirements for the Arts and Humanities Research Council Postgraduate Studentships (see

Applications will be processed as received

How to apply

The prospectus, entry requirements and application form (under ‘how to apply’) are available at: This project will be supervised by Dr David McPhail ( For questions regarding the admissions process, please contact Fiona Thomson (  

Formal applications can be completed online (only after informal enquiries) by clicking the Apply link below while information about the Department can be found at

Closing date: 4 August 2013

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Two Ticks Employer

(* The award is subject to the final approval of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.)

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