PhD research fellow in medieval stone adhesives

Job Summary

Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger
Contract Type
532200 NOK
Closing date

Job Details

Job description
The University of Stavanger hereby invites applications for a PhD Fellowship in medieval stone adhesives at the Museum of Archaeology, Department of Conservation. The position is available from 01.08.2024.

This is a research training position that will give promising researchers the opportunity for academic development through a PhD programme, leading to a doctoral degree. The appointment is for three years with research duties exclusively.

The successful candidate will be admitted to the PhD programme in Social Sciences. The PhD programme includes relevant courses amounting to about six months of study. The PhD fellow will participate in national and international research environments, produce relevant academic dissemination, and complete a doctoral dissertation based on independent research, culminating in a trial lecture and public PhD defence. Read more about the PhD education at UiS on our website.

Research topic
The PhD research fellow will be affiliated with the project “Sticking stones: rediscovering medieval wood tar adhesives for stone conservation”, funded by the Research Council of Norway (project no. 344868) and led by Dr. Bettina Ebert.

About the Sticking Stones project:
What can we learn from medieval craftspeople to help preserve our cultural heritage in an uncertain future? Sticking Stones aims to explore the extent of the use of wood tar adhesives in medieval stone construction and repair across northern Europe. We will rediscover the lost medieval art of traditional stone repair using wood tar adhesives, reconstructing and repurposing this sustainable material for modern heritage conservation practice. Medieval northern European stone churches are at increased risk of damage due to climate change, and a forgotten craft may provide the key to saving our architectural stone heritage. The Sticking Stones project aims to have a green impact on conservation by reducing dependence on synthetic adhesives, and instead demonstrating how lasting repairs may be carried out using traditional natural renewable materials employed in the past.

About the position:
The PhD research fellow affiliated with the project will investigate the broader medieval northern European context of adhesive use in the built environment. The successful applicant will examine the role of craft theories, intangible heritage, tacit knowledge and technological complexity in relation to medieval architectural adhesive use, contextualising wood tar adhesives and situating them within broader theoretical and methodological perspectives.

Subject to individual research interests and skills, the doctoral candidate will mainly contribute to understanding medieval craft skills through a systematic study of historic architectural stone adhesives, with potential focus areas including conservation theory and the intangible heritage of craft skills. The candidate will clarify the geographic and chronological scope of the incidence of medieval architectural adhesives, compiling databases of historic stone adhesives as well as medieval recipes for such adhesives. Possible approaches could include archival research into historic adhesive technology, undertaken through the examination of historical instruction manuals and medieval primary source material.

As there is currently no in-depth study of traditional medieval adhesives used in stone repair and construction, this research will be crucial to the success of the project as a whole. The successful applicant will join an international and multidisciplinary team including specialists from conservation, archaeology, history, materials science and geology, to work towards these goals. The PhD candidate will be an active member of the core research project group, and will participate in meetings and workshops, as well as contributing to research dissemination. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Bettina Ebert (UiS) and Dr. Geeske Langejans (TU Delft, Netherlands).

Project proposal
The applicant must prepare a preliminary project proposal for a doctoral research project within the outlined research topic. The project proposal outlines the research question, state of the art, theoretical and methodological approaches, and a tentative progress plan. A project proposal template can be found here. This preliminary project proposal will be included in the application assessment, applications without attached preliminary project proposal will not be considered.

The successful applicant’s preliminary project proposal and progress plan will be further developed in collaboration with the supervisors, leading to the final plan for the PhD project.

Qualification requirements
We are looking for applicants with a strong academic background who have completed a five-year Master’s degree (3+2) within Conservation, Archaeology, History, Architecture or other relevant disciplines, or possess corresponding qualifications that could provide the basis for successfully completing a doctorate. Competent oral and written communication skills in English are required.

To be eligible for admission to the doctoral programme at the University of Stavanger, both the final grade for your Master’s thesis and the weighted average grade of your Master’s degree must be equivalent to or better than a B grade.

Applicants with an education from an institution with a grade scale other than A-F, and/or with other types of credits than sp/ECTS, must attach a conversion scale or similar transcript that shows how the grades can be compared with the Norwegian A-F scale and a Diploma Supplement or similar that explains the scope of the subjects that are included in the education. You can use these conversion scales to calculate your points for admission.

The following attributes are desirable:

demonstrated interest in theoretical approaches to craft and heritage conservation
personal motivation and potential for undertaking research within the research topic
ability to work in a structured manner, with strong organisational and time-management skills
professional and personal skills necessary for completing the doctoral degree within the allocated 3-year timeframe
ability to work both independently and as part of a team
a curious, innovative and creative approach to research
Reading competency in German, Scandinavian and other European languages will be considered an advantage, though not a prerequisite.

We offer
the opportunity to participate in a new international research project
a PhD education in a large, exciting and societally important organisation
the opportunity to work with an ambitious team in a supportive and inclusive work environment
an informal atmosphere with a flat organisational structure in which employees are included in strategic decisions
access to Lifekeys, a digital service for personal mental health and well-being
salary in accordance with the State Salary Scale, 17.515, code 1017, NOK 532 200 gross per year with salary development according to seniority in the position. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
automatic membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which provides favourable insurance and retirement benefits
favourable membership terms at a gym and at the SIS sports club at campus
employment with an Inclusive Workplace organisation which is committed to reducing sick leave, increasing the proportion of employees with reduced working capacity, and increasing the number of professionally active seniors
"Hjem-jobb-hjem" discounted public transport to and from work
relocation programme
language courses: on this page you can see which language courses you may be entitled to (look up “language courses” under employment conditions)
As an employee in Norway, you will have access to national health service, as well as good pensions, generous maternity/paternity leave, and a competitive salary. Nursery places are guaranteed and reasonably priced.

Diversity is a resource in the working and learning environment at UiS. Having different backgrounds and experiences allows us to approach challenges from multiple perspectives and find better solutions.

At UiS, we are committed to valuing each other's differences and accommodating employees with disabilities. We take into consideration your needs and your situation in various life phases.You are encouraged to apply, regardless of gender, disability, or cultural background.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, gaps in their CV, or immigrant backgrounds, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these groups for an interview. If you fall into any of these categories, feel free to indicate this when applying for the position. Learn more about the criteria for being considered an applicant in these specific groups here.

Contact information
Enquiries regarding the position, project and preliminary research proposal are encouraged, and should be directed to the project manager Dr. Bettina Ebert, tel: +47 98021335, email:

For questions relating to department affiliation, please contact Head of Department Inger Marie Egenberg , tel: +47 51832689, email:

Information about the application process can be obtained from HR advisor Janne V. Endresen, tel: +47 51831216, email:

To apply for this position please follow the link "Apply for this job". Your application letter, relevant education and work experience as well as language skills must be registered here. In your application letter, your research interests and personal motivation for the position should be clearly outlined.

The following documents must be uploaded as attachments to your application:

project proposal (a project proposal template can be found here)
CV with a full summary of your education and experience
certificates/diplomas and other relevant documentation
Diploma Supplement or similar and a confirmed conversion scale if this is required
publications or other relevant research work
Applications are evaluated based on the information available in Jobbnorge at the application deadline. You should ensure that your application clearly shows how your skills and experience meet the criteria set out above and that you have attached the necessary documentation.

The documentation must be available in either a Scandinavian language or in English. If the total size of the attachments exceeds 30 MB, they must be compressed prior to upload.

Please note that applicant details may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the publicly available applicant list - see Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act. If your request is not granted, you will be notified.

UiS only considers applications and attachments registered in Jobbnorge.

General information
The employment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. If your application is considered to be in conflict with the criteria in the latter legislation, it will be rejected without further assessment.

Employment as PhD Fellow is regulated in "Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow and research fellow, research assistant and resident".

Your qualifications for the position, based on documentation registered in Jobbnorge, will be assessed by an internal expert committee. Based on the committee's statement, relevant applicants will be invited to an interview before any recommendations are made. References will also be obtained for relevant candidates. More about the hiring process on our website.

The appointee will be based at the University of Stavanger, with the exception of a possible stay abroad at a relevant centre of research.

It is a prerequisite that you have a residence status which enables you to be present at/available to the academic community during ordinary working hours.

The position has been advertised in both Norwegian and English. In the case of differences in meaning between the texts, the Norwegian text takes precedence.

UiS - challenge the well-known and explore the unknown
The University of Stavanger (UiS) has about 12,000 students and 2,200 employees. The university has high ambitions. We strive to have an innovative and international profile, and be a driving force in knowledge development and in the process of societal change. Our common direction is driven by consideration for green and sustainable change and equitable social development, through new ways of managing natural resources and facilitating better cities and local communities. Energy, health and welfare, learning for life are our focus areas.

In constant collaboration and dialogue with our surroundings, regionally, nationally and internationally, we enjoy an open and creative climate for education, research, innovation, dissemination and museum activities. Academic life at the University of Stavanger is organised into six faculties comprising various departments/schools and National Research Centres, as well as the Museum of Archaeology. We are a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities. The university is located in the most attractive region in the country with more than 300,000 inhabitants.

The Stavanger region has a dynamic labour market and exciting cultural and leisure activities.

Together with our staff and students we will challenge the well-known and explore the unknown.

The Museum of Archaeology is an interdisciplinary institution with responsibilities for research, dissemination, cultural heritage management, and conservation together with documentation and collections.

The museum employs scientific staff conducting research in archaeology, conservation, various natural sciences, and early-modern cultural history. Additionally, staff at the museum cover a variety of fields in conservation, natural science laboratories, photographic services, archives and scientific collections, cultural heritage management in relation to cultural heritage laws, exhibition development, graphic design, school services, public engagement and venue hire. The museum also runs a publishing house, which publishes two academic series through which publications can be awarded points in CRIStin, the national research information system of Norway.

The museum currently has 80 permanent employees across four scientific departments and one administration department.