DSC4299 2 Web

Laura Hendriks awarded prestigious Ambizione grant for research at HEIA-FR

18.03.2024 16:18

Branco Weiss Fellow Dr. Laura Hendriks has been honored with the esteemed Ambizione grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Laura is a scientific assistant at the Fribourg School of Engineering and Architecture (HEIA-FR). Her research project focuses on the dating of cultural heritage objects using chemistry. The Ambizione grant, awarded annually by the SNSF, supports promising young scientists in leading independent research projects. Laura Hendriks’ project merges chemistry with art history, concentrating on radiocarbon and isotope analysis of natural dyes and pigments for dating cultural artifacts. She explains, “Existing dating methods often overlook the complexity of historical objects, compromising accuracy due to multiple layers of paint, varnish, and more.”

In her Ambizione project, Laura Hendriks aims to develop a novel radiocarbon analysis strategy, targeting specific compounds – natural dyes and pigments – rather than the entire sample mass. Beginning with straightforward matrices like historic textiles, the project will progress to more intricate objects. Collaborating with Lionel Rumpf, a doctoral student, Laura Hendriks plans to extend the method to painted works and eventually other components like binders and varnishes, and diverse media such as stamps and musical instruments.

In a second phase, a post-doctoral researcher will focus on stable carbon isotopes, such as carbon 13: “The climate and soil in which plants grow influence the carbon isotopic signature of these plants. By analyzing this composition and its variations, it may be possible to determine the geographical origin of a work of art”, explains Dr Laura Hendriks.

For further information, please contact: Dr Laura Hendriks, Scientific Assistant at the Fribourg School of Engineering and Architecture (HEIA-FR), laura.hendriks@hefr.ch

Read about the Laura Hendriks project at the Swiss National Science Foundation:


Read about it on the website of the Fribourg School of Engineering and Architecture In French):


…and in German:


Read what the newspaper La Liberté writes:


Read about the Ambizione: