Research Scientist Fellow in Conservation

Job Summary

National Gallery of Ireland
Contract Type
35000 Euro - 35000 Euro
Closing date

Job Details

Research Scientist Fellow in Conservation

The National Gallery of Ireland (‘the Gallery’) is Ireland’s major national cultural institution devoted to the collection and care of fine art. Comprising almost 17,000 paintings, drawings, watercolours, miniatures, prints, sculpture and decorative arts, the institution's extensive holdings include masterpieces by many of the most celebrated figures in the history of western European art. In addition, the Gallery houses the most representative collection of historic Irish art. Funded mainly by the State, the Gallery employs more than 180 staff and provides free access to the public 361 days a year. In 2022, the Gallery received numerous awards and accreditations. These included the Triple Lock Standard, which recognises Irish charities that have achieved excellence in governance, financial reporting, transparency and ethical fundraising.

Conservation Department

Established in 1964, the Conservation Department is responsible for ensuring that the Gallery’s collections are properly cared for. This involves researching and assessing the collections, advising the Curatorial department and undertaking routine activities connected with Care of Collection policies and procedures for exhibitions, acquisitions and loans. The Conservation Department is constantly developing strategies to implement preventive treatments, including environmental monitoring to ensure risks to the long-term care of the collection are minimised. Promoting and developing research and conservation projects through interdisciplinary cooperation with conservation institutes and museums both in Ireland and internationally, as well as sharing skills and developing innovative conservation practices, processes and services, are some of the main strategic strands of the work of the Conservation Department.
Our Conservation Department has a proven history of delivering collaborative research projects with external stakeholders, museums and conservation institutes. Recent examples include our 2019 -2020 conservation project of our painting The Visit of the Queen Sheba to King Solomon by Lavinia Fontana, in collaboration with the Centre for Microscopy, Trinity College Dublin, funded by Bank of America, the 2023 Getty Foundation Conservation Canvas Initiative, which focussed on structural treatments and research on works by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) and Juan Gris, and the 2024 TEFAF Museum restoration grant with an in progress research and conservation project on the panel by Ludovico Mazzolino, The Crossing of the Red Sea.
The National Gallery of Ireland’s Conservation Department includes accredited painting and paper conservators, one Research. Scientist. The Conservation Science Laboratory has only recently been established with state of the art equipment.

Research Scientist Fellow

The Gallery wishes to recruit a Research Scientist Fellow on a 2-year fixed-term contract reporting to the Research Scientist or nominated deputy.
This Fellowship enables early career postgraduates to conduct conservation and scientific research on artworks in the collection. This Fellowship will enable individuals with a strong foundation in scientific methodologies to apply these techniques to the study of cultural heritage materials and engage with scientists, conservators and curators on collaborative projects.
The Fellow will work on at least one specific research project, which will result in an article for publication, the content and form of which will be decided in consultation with the leading Gallery’s Research Scientist and other relevant colleagues. The National Gallery of Ireland will provide access to all relevant resources in the Gallery, such as the scientific laboratory, collection documentation, and conservation facilities.

The Research Scientist Fellow will collaborate closely with and under the supervision of the Research Scientist, engaging in the following key areas:
● Actively participating in scientific research, working alongside the conservation and curatorial teams and colleagues across the Gallery.
● Receiving comprehensive training on the advanced analytical techniques available in-house at the NGI, gaining proficiency in their application.
● Playing a role in the development of research projects, contributing insights and expertise in the selection of appropriate analytical methodologies, as well as conducting thorough documentation and data analysis to ensure reproducibility of research findings.
● Facilitating knowledge transfer by actively participating in workshops and training sessions, fostering a culture of continuous learning within the Conservation department.
● Effectively communicating scientific and technical information to both conservation and scientific communities, as well as disseminating research findings to non-technical audiences.
● Contributing to the scholarly discourse by writing articles for publication, delivering professional talks, and actively participating in the Gallery’s public programme.

The successful candidate will have:
● Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in fields such as Conservation Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, or Material Science.
● A strong interest in conservation science.
● Experience in heritage and cultural settings (desirable).
● Research and analytical skills with excellent attention to detail.
● Experience in statistical analysis of data.
● Advanced writing skills.
● Excellent planning skills coupled with an ability to meet deadlines.
● An ability to work on own initiative whilst being part of an effective team.
● Demonstrated commitment to, and knowledge of, issues related to conservation.
● Excellent communication and writing skills in English.
● Excellent IT skills.
● A positive attitude and proactive approach to work with a readiness to learn and develop.
● Dedicated to a positive, inclusive and respectful professional environment.

Note: This job description is a guide to broad areas of responsibility and accountability and should not be regarded as a comprehensive listing. The job description may be subject to review in the view of new structures and / or the changing needs of the Gallery. All employees are required to be compliant with NGI screening, security and Garda vetting procedures.

Benefits of the Role:
Mentorship and ongoing support in the field of conservation science.
Opportunities for upskilling and professional career development.
First-hand experience in the only science laboratory in a cultural institution in Ireland.
Working with and being a part of a dedicated, dynamic expert team.
Access to a world class art collection, art library and archive.
Be part of Ireland’s most visited National Cultural Institution.
Conditions of employment

This job description is a guide to broad areas of responsibility and accountability and should not be regarded as a comprehensive listing. This may be subject to review in view of new structures and/or the changing needs of the Gallery. All employees are required to be compliant with NGI screening and Garda Vetting procedures. The post will be subject to a satisfactory medical check and successful completion of a successful probationary period. Applicants must be fluent in English and be eligible to work in Ireland.

Citizenship Requirements

Eligible candidates must be:
(a) A citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA consists of the Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway; or
(b) A citizen of the United Kingdom (UK); or
(c) A citizen of Switzerland pursuant to the agreement between the EU and Switzerland on the free movement of persons; or
(d) A non-EEA citizen who has a stamp 41 or a Stamp 5 visa;

1 Please note that a 50 TEU visa, which is a replacement for Stamp 4EUFAM after Brexit, is acceptable as a Stamp 4 equivalent.

To qualify candidates must be eligible by the date of any job offer.

Salary: Salary is €35,000 per annum (fixed rate).

Duration: Fixed-term contract for 2 years.

Working hours: Full time, 5 days a week – 35 hours per week (net of breaks). The position is based on-site.

Any personal data that you provide when applying for this position shall be processed in accordance with our Privacy Notice.

How to apply: Please upload a cover letter and curriculum vitae. As part of the selection process, candidates selected for the interview will be asked to prepare a brief presentation outlining a possible project based on the Gallery's collection. This exercise aims to assess candidates' skills in project planning, research, and presentation, as well as their understanding of scientific research and conservation principles.
Candidates should note that panels may be formed from which future positions may be filled.

Closing date for receipt of applications: 28 May 2024

Interviews will be scheduled in June 2024.

At the National Gallery of Ireland, we value equity, diversity and Inclusion we recognise the benefits it can bring to our staff and our visitors interactions. We celebrate difference and want our people to be representative of all communities. If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process, please do not hesitate to let us know.

The National Gallery of Ireland is an equal opportunities employer