Heritage Science and Conservation Summer School on Stone and Environment

Target group

This four-day workshop for students, early-career researchers, and professionals will cover the principles and methods for understanding stone weathering and conservation within their environment. An international team will lecture on material characterisation, laboratory and specialised testing, climate change, air pollution, modelling approaches, and on-site evaluation. This will be contextualised within wider challenges of research and relevance, and supplemented by local excursions to share insight, discuss practical challenges, and opportunities for innovation.


PhD students of the Doctoral Schools of Natural Sciences and (Bioscience) Engineering are encouraged to participate.
The summer school will be open to graduate students, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and early-career professionals in any field related to stone heritage science.

Organising and Scientific Committee

Prof. dr. Veerle Cnudde (Ghent University, BE)
Prof. dr. Heather Viles (University of Oxford, UK)
Dr. Tim De Kock (Ghent University, BE)
Dr. Scott Allan Orr (University of Oxford, UK)
Sebastiaan Godts (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, BE)
Dr. Julie Desarnaud (Belgian Building Research Institute, BE)
Prof. Dr Nathan Van Den Bossche (Ghent University, BE)
Dr. Steven Caluwaerts (Ghent University, BE)


The list of speakers is awaiting confirmation and will be updated as necessary.

  • Prof. dr. Heather Viles, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, is a geographer with major interests in geomorphology and heritage science. Her research focuses on understanding weathering and rock breakdown in coastal, arid, and urban environments, and applying that knowledge to conserving heritage sites.
  • Prof. dr. Peter Brimblecombe, City University of Hong Kong; em. Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, University of East Anglia, is a worldwide renowned expert on atmospheric chemistry and the impact on the (stone) built heritage. He has been involved with projects ranging from the EC project NOAH’s ARK looking at climate change and heritage damage, work on the effects the environment, and artistic expression in literature, painting and cinema.
  • Prof. dr. Nathan Van Den Bossche, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University is associate professor in Building Physics.  His main expertise is watertightness of buildings and related heat-air-moisture studies.  
  • Prof. dr. Barbara Lubelli, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology is associate professor in the Heritage & Architecture group. Her research and teaching activities focus on durability of building materials, study of weathering processes and development and assessment of conservation techniques, with special focus on damage processes related to moisture and salts.
  • Dr. Julie Desarnaud, Belgian Building Research Institute, is a highly ranked expert in salt crystallization in buildings, focusing on conservation of cultural heritage. After her PhD she has been working at the IFSTTAR (FR), Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (NL), University of Amsterdam (NL) and in the top level Getty Research Institute (USA).
  • Dr. Katrin Wilhelm, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, is a heritage scientist experienced in non-destructive testing and conservation of heritage stone structures. Amongst others she has recently been working on the archaeological sites of Pompeii.
  • Dr. Tim De Kock, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, is a geologist specialized in historical building materials and in pore-scale alteration processes involved in the weathering of geomaterials.
  • Dr. Scott Allan Orr, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, is a chemical engineer studying built heritage as complex chemical systems to better understand their physical change in response to environmental change. He is expert on non-destructive testing and climate change threats to the traditional built environment.
  • Sebastian Godts, Monuments Lab, KIK-IRPA, is an expert on salt damage and remediation in historical structures. Furthermore, his years at KIK-IRPA provide him with a large experience on on-site salt problems.
  • Steven Caluwaerts, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, is a physicist specialized in climate and the anthropogenic impact on climate with several monitoring campaigns running. He is coordinator of the MOCCA project on measuring the Ghent urban heat island.
  • Roald Hayen, Monuments Lab, KIK-IRPA is head of the Monuments Lab and provides advise on (preventive) conservation and restoration of heritage sites in Belgium.
  • Dr. Johanna Leissner, Scientific Representative for the Fraunhofer Network in Brussels, was trained as a chemist in Germany and the USA. She has worked in cultural heritage research for over 20 years with a focus on climate change, environmental pollution, sensor development and sustainability. She is currently the German delegate for the Council of Europe Strategy "European Cultural Heritage in the 21st century".
  • Dr. Véronique Vèrges-Belmin, Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques, is head of LRMH stone department since 1993. Her activity is three-fold: (i) Advises to architects, curators and conservators involved in architectural and stone conservation; (ii) Research, at national and international levels, on products and methods for the conservation of inorganic porous building materials; (iii) Teaching at university level for the training of conservators, conservation scientists and restoration architects; she is also involved in various international teaching events on stone conservation.
  • Dr. Ewan Hyslop, Historic Environment Scotland, manages conservation and digital research, heritage science, and the climate change programme. His primary role is to coordinate collaborative research programmes and to ensure the application of research to improve decision-making for the historic environment in Scotland; both for properties and sites in the care of the state, and to the wider historic environment in Scotland.
  • Prof. dr. Els Verstrynge, KU Leuven, is leading a research group with focus on “multi-scale degradation assessment in existing structures” within the Building Materials and Technology division of the Civil Engineering Department. She is also lecturer at the Raymond Lemaire International Center for Conservation (RLICC) at the University of Leuven, and active member of several technical commissions within WTA, RILEM and ICOMOS.
  • Bénédicte Selfslagh is a World Heritage & Cultural heritage expert. Her work experience combines the perspective of international organisations (European Commission), NGO’s (ICOMOS) and the private sector, having held several international mandates. She will inform us how European Cultural Heritages Policies have continued to evolve.

Registration Deadline

June 14, 2019


Tuesday August 27 to Friday August 30, 2019


Krijgslaan 281 building S2, 9000 Gent, Belgium


FLYER Summer School 'Heritage science and conservation summer school on stone and the environment’

  • Day 1 - August 27th

-    Heritage science and conservation in context
-    Air pollution and degradation
-    General introduction to climate
Moisture and materials
-    Material characterisation and in-situ monitoring
-    Non-destructive moisture measurements
-    Environmental experiments with uCT
-    From climate data to moisture management in masonry constructions
-    Hygrothermal modelling in conservation
Belgian Heritage Reception

  • Day 2 - August 28th

On-site evaluation and conservation treatments
-    On-site decay assessment
-    On-site evaluation of salts
-    Biological approaches to conservation
-    Stone conservation treatments
-    Consolidation assessment and practical applications
-    Conservation in practice
Research in context
-    Making research work
-    Policy, technical research, and engagement
-    Heritage and wellbeing
Group reflection

  • Day 3 - August 29th

Excursion in Ghent/Brussels to built heritage sites and research sites.
Public lectures in Gent: “heritage and urban environments”

  • Day 4 - August 30th

Interactive contributions from participants and group reflection

The programme will run each day from approximately 9.30 to 17.30.
There will be an optional icebreaker event on the evening of Monday August 26, 2019


Registration link: https://webappsx.ugent.be/eventManager/events/stoneenvironment

After completion of registration and notice of acceptance, the participants will receive a payment link by e-mail.


Participants will be informed about accommodation and housing possibilities shortly after May 31.

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

Daily attendance at the summer school lectures and excursion.
Short presentation of own research activities in context of the summer school.

Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the UGent Doctoral Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences. External applicants are required to pay a registration fee of €80. Accommodation is not provided.
Participants are asked to complete the application form, including brief statements of their career and motivation. Successful applicants will be notified within 7 days of their application and sent a link for payment to confirm their place.


The sessions will be in English.

Number of participants