UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Winning CDT to pioneer a different work model for heritage scientists

22 November 2013

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA), announced today amongst over 70 successful bids for EPSRC funding, will pioneer a new work model for the 60 plus heritage scientists and engineers it will train.

Professor May Cassar, Director of SEAHA and Professor of Sustainable Heritage at The Bartlett’s Centre for Sustainable Heritage at UCL explains:

Up to now, heritage scientists have traditionally been employed in universities and in cultural institutions. SEAHA will open up opportunities, not only of working in industry but also as entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, graduates will have the choice to work flexibly and with a broader range of heritage in different parts of the UK and internationally. It’s an exciting time to be in heritage science.

With around 50,000 museums and galleries globally and even more archaeological sites and historic buildings, well-prepared, enterprising heritage scientists are needed in sectors as diverse as tourism, conservation and instrumentation.

The student journey is at the centre of SEAHA’s training approach. The management team has carefully considered where students are coming from, their possible career paths in heritage, industry and policy and will focus on bridging the gap with a unique combination of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. SEAHA graduates will be pioneering experts, equipped with a broad understanding of the sectors in which they may choose to work, and perfectly placed to shape the future of heritage science in the UK, and globally.

As Barney Sloane, Head of Strategic Planning and Management at English Heritage explains, “SEAHA will provide students with advanced scientific, engineering and transferable skills and expertise vital to the future conservation of our heritage and make them eminently attractive to future employers.”

Over 45 organisations have already committed to working in partnership with SEAHA. These include galleries such as Tate; eminent museums such as the Natural History Museum in London, industry represented by companies such as Leica Geosystems and research and training institutions such as the National Physical Laboratory.

Thanks to these partnerships the Centre is able to offer tripartite supervision which means that students benefit from the support of cultural institutions and industry in addition to academic supervision. This brings students and their research as close to the problem as possible and means that their exposure, networks and work opportunities are tripled.

SEAHA will recruit graduates with an aptitude for and understanding of science or engineering that they can apply to the arts, heritage and archaeology sectors to advance knowledge in heritage science that underpins understanding and protection of cultural heritage. It will train 60 doctoral students with additional studentships coming on stream over a period of eight years making it EPSRC’s single largest investment to date in heritage science and engineering research.

Find out more on the SEAHA website www.seaha.org.