Design Researcher

Connecticut, United States
Wednesday, 4 November 2020
End of advertisement period
Monday, 4 January 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Position Focus:

Yale's Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH), is dedicated to advancing innovative and sustainable practices in the field of heritage preservation. At the crossroads of science and art, the Institute is comprised of leading-edge conservation, research, and imaging laboratories.

A position is open in the IPCH Lens Media Lab, reporting to the Head of the Lens Media Lab (LML). The research goals of the LML are focused on the preservation and characterization of photographic materials with an emphasis on creating and interpreting large datasets gleaned from reference, archival, and museum collections. Building on this base, collaborations across disciplines in the humanities and sciences will be fostered to assemble and interpret datasets derived from a broad spectrum of cultural heritage materials. Through the development of data visualization methods, tools, and interfaces, meaning and impact of these data will be communicated to broad constituencies including scientists, conservators, art historians, and curators.

Working under the direction of the Head of the LML, the primary duty and responsibility is the design and development instrumentation to assist in the materials-based characterization of works of art in artifacts.  This work will be conducted within the context of a multidisciplinary team consisting of art conservations, conservation scientists, a signal processing scientist, a data scientist and an art historian.

Principal Responsibilities include:

  • Design and build instrumentation to enable research into visual properties of works of art such as texture, reflectance, thickness, and color. 
  • Create software-based user interfaces for these instruments.
  • Work with interdisciplinary teams of scholars in the sciences and humanities to understand their research goals and to build tools to enable materials-based inquires applied to art and artifacts.
  • Design instrumentation for the characterization of works of art and artifacts.
  • Refine existing instrumentation to optimize performance, including commercially available cameras, spectrometers, and other devices.
  • Design software interfaces, enabling device operation by broad, non-technical, constituencies. 
  • Work closely with researchers in the humanities and sciences to understand their research requirements in order to recommend the application of existing instrumentation and/or develop customized hardware/software solutions.

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Essential Duties

  1. Designs and performs research projects relating to the characterization of materials used in fabricating or stabilizing cultural property and/or natural history collection objects.
  2. Prepares written reports of research findings and status and prepares and presents lectures describing research findings at professional conferences and other venues.
  3. Provides support to other researchers at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and participates in shared duties, such as lab maintenance and compliance with safety protocols.
  4. May supervise and mentor fellows, interns, or student researchers.
  5. May organize workshops and events.
  6. Participates in occasional teaching and guest tours.
  7. May perform other duties as assigned.

Required Education and Experience

Master’s Degree in a related discipline and a minimum of three years of research experience involving the scientific study of works of art or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Required Skill/Ability 1:

Understanding of signal processing methods and protocols, especially as pertains to data output by instruments including spectrometers and cameras.

Required Skill/Ability 2:

Ability to design instrumentation, integrating components such as lighting, customized machined parts, electronic controls including computer controlled inputs and outputs.

Required Skill/Ability 3:

Ability to integrate the operation of hardware components through the creation of customized software.

Required Skill/Ability 4:

Demonstrated project management skills with a proven track record of completion on time. Well-developed organizational, research, and analytical skills.

Required Skill/Ability 5:

Demonstrated ability to work collegially with a wide range of staff, faculty, and student from the sciences and the humanities.

Preferred Education, Experience and Skills:

M.S. in electrical engineering or equivalent experience in electronics design and build as well as software interface coding and design. At least three years’ experience in industry or academia. Ability to present research through oral and written scholarly communications.

Drug Screen No

Health Screening No

Background Check Requirements

All candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle, DOT certification, drug testing and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent upon the successful completion of the background check. Please visit for additional information on the background check requirements and process.

Posting Disclaimer

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative summary of the essential functions that will be required of the position and should not be construed as a declaration of specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position. Employees will be assigned specific job-related duties through their hiring departments.

Affirmative Action Statement:

Yale University considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin; nor does Yale discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, at, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, Five Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109-3921. Telephone: 617.289.0111, Fax: 617.289.0150, TDD: 800.877.8339, or Email:

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