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Northwestern University/ Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts

Associate Scientist

The Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (CSSA) 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 North America and 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 primarily report to the Center’s co-Director Dr. Marc Walton (Research Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University) with Dr. Francesca Casadio, (Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science at the Art Institute of Chicago) as co-supervisor. The Associate Scientist will work with a postdoctoral fellow to manage the external collaborations of the Center, provide mentorship to postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students at the Center, and conduct independent research projects that enhance and augment the external research program. The position is funded for four 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 benchtop 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. Develop and / or strengthen relationships with various experimental and analytical research facilities at Northwestern University and in the Chicago area.
  4. Assist external institutions during the phase of proposal writing, and provide detailed reports to participating institutions after the analyses are conducted.
  5. 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 object-based 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
  6. Planning and supervise lab activities and external projects
  7. Actively engage in developing and using innovative instrumentation, sample preparation and data treatment approaches to conduct research
Minimum qualifications
Ph.D. in chemistry or physical science and a minimum of 3 years of experience in conservation science and experimental research in an academic or museum 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, 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 by October 15, 2019 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.

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