PhD position - Synchrotron microscopic study of historical and industrial paintings

Context & Job description

Project title: Imaging inorganic in organic: The synchrotron-based microscopic in-depth chemical monitoring of short term and long term interactions of inorganic and organic in historical and industrial paintings and coatings 

This PhD work is a collaborative project between the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), AkzoNobel, Stichting het Rijksmuseum and University of Amsterdam. The goal is to study short term and long term drying reactions, and notably reactivity between metallic catalysts and alkyd binders. The analyses will be mainly based on 2D micro-imaging techniques (in particular infrared and synchrotron-based X-ray analyses such as X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction), performed at Grenoble (beamline ID21 mainly) and in the Netherlands (UVA, Rijksmuseum and AkzoNobel).

The work will require developing and implementing efficient analytical methodology, from sample preparation to data processing, for the 2D multi-modal micro-analysis of models and historical samples. The developed methodology will ultimately have outcomes both for museums (better knowledge of the historical use of driers) as well as for paint industries (for the design of new paints with better health and safety profile and improved performance).    

Further information may be obtained from Marine Cotte (tel.: +33 (0)476882127, email: and from Katrien Keune +31681273396, email:

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in chemistry or closely related science
  • A background in spectroscopic analysis is highly desirable
  • Skills in programming (e.g. with Python) is an asset
  • Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
  • Interpersonal skills, able to work with people from different areas of expertise
  • Proficiency in English (A proof of upper-intermediate level must be included in the application. Applicants  originating  from  native-English-speaking  countries  can  apply  without  the  need  for  proof  of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof).
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy the conditions for enrollment in a doctoral programme

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of University of Amsterdam for a period of four years. During the first three years, the candidate will be hired by and based at the ESRF (Grenoble, France), with a total period of 6-month secondment at the Dutch partners. During the fourth year, the candidate will be hired by the Rijksmuseum. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

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