Art and cultural artefacts are a fundamental part of our history and identity as a society. Conserving these works and passing on the pertinent knowledge is therefore at the forefront of our research. FSP MA works with interdisciplinary research teams that approach these aspects from different perspectives.

Research and development

FSP MA carries out application- and development-oriented research as well as practical basic research. Our projects are funded by Innosuisse, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), institutions and private business. FSP MA also manages European standardisation and cataloguing projects on behalf of the government and the Canton of Bern.

Contract research and consulting services

We carry out technical investigations into the materials used in works of art and cultural artefacts, often using methods/instruments we have developed ourselves, and draw on years of experience when interpreting the results:

  • Examination of layers using lock-in thermography.

We also develop research-based conservation and restoration concepts and act as expert advisers:

  • Advise on and develop research-based concepts in conservation/restoration.
  • Advise artists on age-related material changes and material selection.
  • Advise property owners and carry out building research relating to the conservation of listed buildings, reconstruction measures and restoration projects.

We also offer provenance research and attribution services, plus fieldwork relating to the cataloguing of works of art:

  • Fieldwork, tracing and cataloguing art in the public sphere/Percent for Art.
  • Consultation work in relation to European standards governing the conservation of cultural heritage (CEN TC 346).


In addition to excellent facilities, FSP MA also has access to the expertise of researchers from the Conservation and Restoration Division and the Art Technology Laboratory. The Media Library also offers technological source material and literature relating to research and conservation/restoration.

  • Conservation and Restoration Division
  • Art Technology Laboratory
  • HKB Media Library
  • Material Archive

Research and teaching

Research pathways for lecturers

Members of the teaching staff can become involved in research either by collaborating on or leading research projects. In both instances the aim is to appoint lecturers, research associates and other members of staff in line with the SERI mixed profile (see 2). While master’s graduates with an interest in research, assistants and research associates can take advantage of specific support for mid-level academic staff in order to become involved in research, teaching staff can gain a foothold in research with external funding or as SERI researchers on HKB preparatory projects.

1. Support for mid-level academic staff

As part of a scheme to support mid-level academic staff, master’s graduates, assistants and research associates have the opportunity to prepare research proposals for externally financed projects. They will be guided by experienced researchers who will then jointly submit the project. Appointments made in this way are often combined with teaching appointments. This helps maintain the desired balance between research and teaching.

2. SERI researchers

Researchers with a mixed profile, where teaching represents 50% or more of their work and one of the other activities at least 20%, are classified as SERI researchers. Because research profiles of this kind are subsidised via SERI, it is very much in the interests of the research focus areas to help employees to attain a mixed profile.

3. Continuing professional development

To help researchers connected to the Materiality in Art and Culture research focus keep up to date with the latest developments and make their research results public, financial support is provided for active participation in symposia and conferences.

Contact: Sebastian Dobrusskin, Head of FSP Materiality in Art and Culture

Research pathways for students

At the beginning of the Conservation and Restoration study programme, students are taught the basic principles of academic work. The standard curriculum introduces thought processes and writing skills as well as the systems used in practical work. Research-related teaching builds on this. Students prepare a master’s thesis that includes a compulsory research segment and represents the final assignment of the Conservation and Restoration programme.
Research opportunities for interested students and professionals

  • Master’s degree with a focus on Research (Link für HKB-Studierende)
  • Minor in Research (Link für HKB-Studierende)
  • SWISS CRC – Research Course (Link für HKB-Studierende)
  • Research Wednesday
  • Thursday lectures

Any questions?
Contact: Sebastian Dobrusskin, Head of FSP Materiality in Art and Culture


FSP MA works closely with the Conservation and Restoration Division. The majority of the Division’s teaching staff are also involved in research.

Bachelor in Conservation

Students are first confronted with our research results in the course of the degree programme. Optional attendance of the Thursday lectures and Research Wednesday provides further insight into our research.


Master in Conservation-Restoration

The MA thesis with which this degree programme concludes requires a set percentage of research, and the teaching includes the academic ‘tools of the trade’, the Swiss CRC Research Course (5 ECTS), and the possibility of taking a minor in Research (15 ECTS). Students are free to attend the Thursday lectures and Research Wednesday.


CAS Attribution and Provenance Research, interdisciplinary

This new advanced studies programme was developed jointly with the research focus and has tremendous potential both when it comes to communicating research results and generating new, relevant research questions.