The School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR), a member institution of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (HES-SO), offers bilingual study programs at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. For the ChemTech institute, in collaboration with the university of Bern, the HEIA-FR invites applications to fill the position of:

PhD Student in Analytical Chemistry Bridging Science and Art


Mission and Scope of Activities

The proposed research project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, as part of the interdisciplinary Ambizione project (FNS: PZ00P2_216127), entitled “The when and the where of colour: tailored radiocarbon and stable isotope analysis of natural organic dyes and pigments in cultural heritage objects”. The novelty of this project is to develop new metrics for assessing the origin of an artwork founded on the principles that i) the carbon backbone of natural organic dyes stores a wealth of information regarding its source and origin and ii) this information may be retrieved by capitalizing on compound specific analysis as opposed to bulk sample analysis. The diversity of cultural heritage objects, the respective hierarchical complexity of the samples removed and the sample size limitations with respect to precious and rare art artefacts requires innovative, inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches. Within the project team, as a doctoral student your research will focus on painting materials. By drawing on the knowledge gained from art technology research and advances in compound specific isotope analyses, you will develop a methodology to selectively 14C date the natural organic lake and paint binder within the same microsample. The identification of key markers in glycerolipidic, waxy, resinous and proteinaceous materials will allow to investigate case studies in collaboration with different heritage institutions worldwide. Rooted in the chemistry department of HEIA-FR, you will work closely with the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon (LARA) at the University of Bern, where you will be enrolled as doctoral student in the research group of Prof. Dr. Szidat, within the Graduate Schools of Climate Sciences or Chemistry and Molecular Sciences.


Your profile

  • Curious, creative and passionate scientist
  • Rigorous, organized and independent in your work
  • MSc in chemistry or a related field
  • Strong technical skills, knowledge of and experience in analytical chemistry, particularly chromatographic separations
  • Experience and/or strong interest in heritage science and a taste for teamwork and multidisciplinary collaborations
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English. A good level in German and French is an advantage as you will be brought to work in different institutions within Switzerland.

Additional information

  • Full-time employment as a doctoral student for a period of one year, renewable every year upon positive evaluation, up to a total of 4 years 
  • Activity rate: 100 %



Take immediate action via the application button. Please send a full application, i.e. a single PDF file including CV, motivation letter, Master’s degree diploma and transcript of records, 2 contact references you worked with.


Laura Hendriks
Senior Academic Associate UAS


january 2024 at the earliest


17. Dezember 2023

Die HTA-FR vertritt eine Anstellungspolitik der Chancengleichheit.

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