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NU-ACCESS Project Coordinator

Job ID: 33922

Job Summary:
The Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS) is seeking an administrator to help manage the general operations of the Center and to take leadership in maintaining a program of public outreach and engagement. The administrator will coordinate activities between affiliated Northwestern faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students and collaborators from cultural heritage intuitions across the world.

Please Note:

Specific Responsibilities:


Budgets & Financial



Program Development

Strategic Planning

Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

Preferred Qualifications: (Education and experience)

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

To apply, please visit Northwestern University's online application portal.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States. 


NU-ACCESS: Associate Scientist for External Research Projects
The Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS) is seeking an Associate Scientist to provide intellectual and operational leadership to its external research projects program wherein joint research collaborations are undertaken with cultural heritage institutions across the world. The Center provides its resources, from Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago, to external users via a merit-review proposal system to undertake objects-based and objects-inspired scientific research in the arts.

These external projects are critical to the Center's mission to provide scientific support for the investigation of art collections, to develop new technology to look at art, and to research new methods to conserve art for future generations.

The successful candidate will report to the Center’s co-Directors Dr. Marc Walton (Research Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University) and Dr. Francesca Casadio (Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science at the Art Institute of Chicago). The Associate Scientist will work with a dedicated postdoctoral fellow to manage the external collaborations of the Center, provide mentorship to all postdoctoral fellows and graduate students at the Center, and conduct his/her own research projects. The position is funded for five years as supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Primary duties:
1.     Direct both applied research and analytical work to support external projects by carrying out state-of-the-art scientific research using a combination of macro, micro and nano bench top and synchrotron-based instruments a) to characterize materials, structures and components of artworks either in their original state or after aging or deterioration; b) to improve and develop new treatment and preservation strategies; and c) to broaden ways of studying works of art
2.     Strengthen and enhance relationships with curators, conservators, art historians and archaeologists from external institutions to foster collaborative international research projects
3.     Assist external institutions during the phase of proposal writing, and provide detailed reports to participating institutions after the analyses are conducted.
4.     Work with the Center co-Directors to foster understanding and assimilation of results and approaches of scientific research in the arts among curators, conservators, university professors and their students, administrators, other staff, the general public and other AIC and NU support groups through:
·       The production of high-level scientific research publications in the field of cultural heritage science and technical art history.
·       Travel to attend conferences, present papers and confer with colleagues in the US and internationally.
·       The design of media tools, and press materials (website, data visualization tools etc.) for general public
5.     Planning and supervise lab activities and external projects.
6.     Actively engage in developing and using innovative instrumentation, sample preparation and data treatment approaches to conduct research

Basic Qualifications: Ph.D. in chemistry or physical science and a minimum of 5 years of experience in conservation science and experimental research in an academic setting. It is preferred that the candidate has ample experience working within museums as well as the application of advanced analytical imaging methods to works of art: namely, but not limited to, macro-XRF (synchrotron and conventional), Hyperspectral Imaging (visible and near infrared), Optical Coherence Tomography, data fusion, etc.

Application materials consisting of a cover letter, a CV, and the names and contact information of three references should be uploaded to the application site by June 29, 2018 for full consideration.

Northwestern University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Qualified women and minorities are encouraged to apply. It is the policy of Northwestern University not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status or other protected group status. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.


NU-ACCESS Postdoctoral Research Scholarship: Nanoscale Characterization of Reaction Boundaries and Pathways for Metal Carboxylates in Oil Paints

The Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU- ACCESS) is offering a two-year postdoctoral research scholarship (possibly extendable for a third year) to study the chemistry of zinc soaps: organic/inorganic compounds that form by reaction of the Zn oxide pigment with an oil-based (lipidic) binding medium. The postdoctoral position is funded through the NSF grant Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE): Computationally-Based Imaging of Structure in Materials (CuBISM) (NSF-OISE: 2018-2023). The grant activities overall aim to develop computational and experimental tools needed to understand how artworks undergo change over long periods of time. To accomplish this task a research network has been established between Northwestern University and leaders in cultural heritage science from the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, the National Research Council in Italy, and the Sychrtron Soleil in France. Therefore, as part of this project, you will join a vibrant community of graduate and undergraduate students at Northwestern University all working on cultural heritage science projects, an experience enhanced by multi-pronged opportunities for extended periods of international exchange and research (

The specific project is a collaboration between Prof. Richard P. Van Duyne at Northwestern University, Dr. Francesca Casadio at the Art Institute of Chicago and Dr. Katrien Keune at the Rijksmuseum/ University of Amsterdam (UvA). While the main place of work will be the laboratories of the Van Duyne group at Northwestern University, the position includes 2/3 residencies of up to 2 months each in the Netherlands, to work with the Keune group. In other words, Research will be undertaken at both NU and UvA, allowing the use of the analytical, library and other resources at both institutions.

One of the fundamental phenomena of deterioration of bio-based coatings used in art making is the formation of metal carboxylate salts (“metal soaps”). It is estimated that around 70% of paintings in museum collections are affected by some form of metal soap-related degradation phenomena. The Netherlands has longstanding expertise in the study of material degradation of paintings, especially in the area of metal soaps in art, yet, despite extensive scrutiny many open questions remain.

With this project we aim to answer the following fundamental questions:
1) What are the reaction kinetics of the formation and crystallization of Zn soaps in oil? What is the influence of environmental (T, RH%) and anthropic (solvents) parameters on such reaction pathways and kinetics?
2) What happens at reaction boundaries between zinc oxide particles and the organic medium? Can we determine the structure (crystalline, amorphous, type of organic acid) and possible orientation of the newly formed zinc soaps at the nanoscale, from vibrational data?
While working mostly with model systems, this project aims to ultimately develop the Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) as a tool to probe reaction kinetics for these organic/inorganic systems in real time. We also aim to connect the micro-mechanical properties of the studied systems with their chemistry, probed with ultra-high sensitivity and nanometer spatial resolution with tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). By solving new scientific problems relevant to cultural heritage science, we can further push the limits of using TERS for complex heterogeneous mixtures of non–resonant molecules. and overall broaden its general use as a nanoscale analytical technique.

Applicants should have a completed Ph.D. in chemistry or a related discipline, and have demonstrated expertise in the use of Raman spectroscopy, SERS, TERS or related spectroscopic techniques, and familiarity with complementary analytical techniques including SEM/EDX, TEM and FTIR microspectroscopy. Ability for self-directed research and a demonstrated record of peer-reviewed publications are essential requirements of the job. Previous work experience in the cultural heritage field is an advantage; an enthusiasm for studying works of art and historic artefacts is essential.

The application, including cover letter, CV, list of publications, and contact information for two references, should be submitted to For inquiries please contact Francesca Casadio (

The deadline for application is June 30, 2018, with a start date anticipated by September 2018.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected
classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, underrepresented racial
and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring
is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

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