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Harvard University Senior Preventive Conservation Scientist in Cambridge, Massachusetts

63811BRAuto req ID:63811BRJob Code:387058 Library Sr Specialist Department Office Location:USA - MA - Cambridge Business Title:Senior Preventive Conservation ScientistSub-Unit:------------ Salary Grade ( :058Time Status:Full-time Union:00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in natural sciences (such as analytical chemistry, materials science, or similar field).

  • Minimum of 8 years of experience in natural sciences or related industry; a combination of graduate education, professional training and internships/fellowships will count towards experience.

  • Demonstrated experience in the following areas:

  • Materials science, particularly in the nature, manufacture, deterioration of organic materials.

  • Performing and interpreting data from analytical techniques including but not limited to FTIR, XRF, SEM/EDS.

  • Preservation storage environments.

  • Working with rare or unique cultural heritage materials.

Additional Qualifications and Skills:

  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism.

  • Ability to assess complex problems, take risks creatively and strategically, and develop solutions.

  • Ability to establish priorities and goals in the context of project management and policy/workflow development; manage time effectively and achieve goals.

  • Knowledge of and ability to stay current with theoretical and technological developments in the profession.

  • Ability to work collaboratively and encourage teamwork with a variety of allied professionals and/or clients; facilitates and coordinates timely and effective communication with library colleagues and staff.

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including public speaking, teaching, and training with both scientists and non-scientists.

  • Ability to self-motivate, initiate and advocate for change.

  • Adherence to the Code of Ethics of the American Institute for Conservation.

  • Familiarity with standard software applications including Microsoft Office and Zoom.

Department:Preservation ServicesPre-Employment Screening:Criminal, Education, IdentityJob Function:Library Position Description:

Reporting to the Senior Preservation Librarian in the Preventive Programs unit of Harvard Library Preservation Services, the Preventive Conservation Scientist is a specialist with broad expertise in materials science who:

  • Develops and leads the preservation environment monitoring program, defines and interprets a range of program-related policies and procedures, implements changes in policies/procedures within and outside Harvard Library, conducts applied research and testing, and collaborates with the library and facilities staff who manage HVAC environmental control systems, enabling Harvard Library to better balance preservation quality with energy savings.

  • Undertakes scientific research and analysis of Harvard Library collections and related materials to improve preservation and support scholarly research. Collaborates with conservators, curators, collection managers, scholars, and scientists within Harvard and elsewhere to address conservation and technical art historical research questions.

  • Uses professional judgment to interpret analytical results, write reports, disseminate information to colleagues as appropriate, and preserve/share data to Harvard University standards; provides oversight and expertise regarding scientific work carried out by others including technical operation of equipment and data analysis.

  • Develops and maintains working relationships with library staff, conservators, and scientists on campus and beyond to connect researchers working with library collections with appropriate analytical equipment and expertise; and leverages existing University equipment and expertise to maximize diversity of resources.

  • Selects and maintains necessary instruments, equipment, and supplies.

    Supervisory and Administrative Responsibilities:

  • Manages or collaborates on research projects, assigns work, and tracks deadlines.

  • Provides training, mentoring and coaching for staff and students involved in research projects.

  • May directly and indirectly supervise fellows, interns, temporary and student workers, including goalsetting and performance feedback for any direct reports.

  • Models inclusive and equitable leadership and decision-making; contributes to and advocates for Harvard Library’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Antiracism initiatives.

  • Monitors spending within assigned budget lines, makes annual budget recommendations, and oversees purchase and maintenance of appropriate equipment, services, and vendors.

  • Works creatively and responsively with staff across Preservation Services to achieve department goals and the Harvard Library mission, including contributing to annual planning and reports, and serving on committees and groups such as the cross-unit Preventive Programs team.

    Professional and Outreach Activities:

  • Participates in outreach to library staff and the University community about the Library’s conservation science program in a variety of modes, including presentations, tours, interviews, and written content for donor outreach, websites and social media.

  • Provides leadership at the University in preservation environments.

  • Builds and maintains job-related skills for self and any direct reports through professional development and staff engagement opportunities; stays current with relevant literature and developments in the field.

  • Collaboratively shares significant findings both internally and via peer-reviewed literature and professional presentations.

  • May play a regional, national, or international role within area(s) of expertise.

School/Unit:Harvard Library EEO Statement:We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.Physical Requirements:

  • Job will require manual dexterity to handle fragile collections and to operate and maintain scientific instruments, ability to lift up to 30 lbs., and ability to travel between campus buildings.

  • Job will require compliance with all safety protocols including radiation ( and chemical ( protection as determined by the University’s Environmental Health and Safety department.

Working Conditions:

  • May interact with collections that may contain dust, mold, or other contaminants.

  • Harvard Library Preservation Services promotes an inclusive working and learning environment.

  • The Scientist works in both office and lab environments and is based primarily in Cambridge, MA, USA; additional work may be performed or facilitated in labs across campus and in libraries; work location is responsive and subject to change based on business needs.

  • The position will be based on our campus in Cambridge, MA, however there is the opportunity for a flexible or hybrid work model compliant with Harvard University remote work policies.

    Job Summary:

    Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on October 20, 2023.

    The Preventive Conservation Scientist provides thought leadership and collaborates closely with the Harvard University community to develop a new scientific research program within Harvard Library Preservation Services ( . This new position has two primary duties: preventive conservation science focusing on sustainable preservation environments, and analysis of both Harvard Library collections and the materials used to treat, house, and exhibit them. The Scientist advances understanding of the nature of library materials, their storage needs, and the resulting consumption of energy and other resources.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging:

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University’s mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support. Today, Harvard Library’s holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University's faculty, students, and researchers—now and in the future—with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at .

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.


We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website ( to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.

  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.

  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.

  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.

  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.

  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.

  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.

  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.

  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Work Format:Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)