Historic Buildings Summer Research Internship

close-up at colourful limestone impregnations

Limestone with iron impregnations, near Grindelwald, Switzerland. © Audrius Meskauskas/GNU General Public License Version 3.0

Applications are now open for Oxford University students to undertake a 2 week-long summer internship within the University. This internship is funded by the TORCH Heritage Programme and was set up in collaboration with the Oxford University Heritage Network and the Careers Service of the University of Oxford. The student selected for this internship will work remotely and receive the equivalent of National Living Wage for the duration of the placement.


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Following the Notre dame fire, where two bays of the vaulted ceiling collapsed, it was found that the Oolitic limestone had deteriorated due to heat from the fire causing the compressive strength to drop. The primary aim of this research internship is to determine the conditions necessary for this reduction in compressive strength, to inform fire safety officers, fire fighters, insurers and architects. The research should look into the types of limestone being quarried or mined and what was used in English cathedrals and primary churches. It would be useful to find out whether the individual vaulted ceilings, which separate the high fire loads of the roof from the bodies of the cathedrals have been constructed in what stone. A scoping exercise should then be prepared to enable furnace and compression testing to be carried out.


A knowledge of geology, geography and chemistry would be useful. An appreciation of the historic environment and an interest in delving into the construction of ancient buildings is desirable.


Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences


  • Qualitative research
  • Analysis
  • Project management


To assess the fire conditions necessary to cause structural damage to limestone in historic buildings and prepare a scoping study for further physical testing in a laboratory. This is an opportunity to gather and analyse data to determine what is not known and plan laboratory experiments to fill the gaps in our knowledge.


For more information and to apply, log in to the Careers Service website with your SSO.

Flexible, but the beginning of the summer break would be ideal.

 2 weeks

 29 June 2020


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