The Getty

  • GCI Postdoctoral Fellow

    Posted Date
    1 month ago(1 month ago)
    Requisition Number
    LT Full-Time
    Position Status
    Getty Center
    GCI - 0630-GCI Collections Projects
    Scientific and Conservation
  • Job Summary

    The Getty Conservation Institute’s (GCI) postdoctoral fellowship is a two-year program designed to provide recent PhDs in chemistry and other physical or material sciences with experience in conservation science. The 2019-2021 Postdoctoral Fellow will be an integral part of the GCI Science’s Preventive Conservation and Modern and Contemporary Art research initiatives. ( 

    In support of the GCI’s mission to advance conservation practice in the visual arts, much of the Science department’s work in preventive conservation involves assessing the effects of environmental conditions on museum objects. Ongoing research is particularly important for modern polymeric materials (i.e., plastics), the lifespans of which are often much shorter than for more traditional artist materials. The GCI is studying this problem with a combined approach of chemical characterization and mechanical testing to understand the degradation pathways and physical manifestations of aging in plastic art and artifacts. Static and dynamic mechanical testing at different scales and controlled environmental conditions will be accompanied by comprehensive chemical analysis of samples with a suite of spectroscopic, chromatographic, calorimetric, and imaging techniques. The applied nature of this work means that the Fellow will collaborate closely with practicing conservators as well as with scientific researchers in other organizations.

    The Postdoctoral Fellow is expected to engage with, and be involved in, both new and existing projects and research partnerships concerned with materials research and conservation methods. The GCI anticipates that the Fellow’s primary research activities will focus on understanding the mechanisms and progress of aging in range of plastic artifacts in museum collections. The physical, mechanical and chemical properties will be analyzed as a function of manufacturing technology, ongoing aging, and various conservation treatments.

    The Fellowship will be particularly suited to candidates with a strong background in materials and polymer science at the graduate level. In addition to working on existing or nascent GCI research, there is scope for the Fellow to pursue independent research on a topic of their own choosing, and to take full advantage of the diverse research facilities available at the Getty. Professional development will be encouraged and assisted through participation in professional meetings, conferences, or workshops. It is expected that the Fellow’s research outcomes will be disseminated through publications and conference presentations, to the scientific community and art conservation practitioners.

    Applicants should have a recent (2013 or later) PhD in materials science, or another relevant physical science, plus experimental research experience and strong instrumental analysis skills. An aptitude for self-directed learning and for working across academic disciplines is desirable, as are excellent written and verbal communication skills. Candidates should have an interest in the visual arts and a serious interest in pursuing a career in conservation science.

    The Fellowship runs from September 2019 to August 2021. In addition to an annual stipend and health insurance, the fellow will be provided an annual study trip allowance and other generous benefits including an apartment at Scholar Housing, a 38-unit complex located less than 2 miles (approximately 3 kilometers) from the main entrance to the Getty Center.


    DEADLINE: November 1, 2018

    All interested applicants must apply for this job online and upload the following documents in one PDF file (when prompted to “upload a Resume”).  An application will not be considered complete without the submission of these documents.  

    A completed online application includes uploading a Statement of Interest: Doctoral Dissertation Plan or Abstract; Curriculum Vitae; Writing Sample; and Confirmation of Degree and this must be received by the deadline. 

    Two Confidential Letters of Recommendation must be sent separately to and should also be received no later than November 1, 2018.