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Research interests

My research focuses on understanding historic building materials; their provenance, decay mechanisms and conservation. Most recently I have been analysing historic and archaeologically excavated glass from Scotland, but my research encompases materials such as historic timber, lime and parchment.


Craig Kennedy received a degree in biochemistry from the University of Stirling and a PhD in structural biophysics from Cardiff University, examining the deterioration of collagen within historic parchments. This work married high-end scientific analysis (synchrotron radiation,  neutron scattering, etc.) with the practical needs of conservators  working on ancient documents. Further work at Cardiff included  examination of the structure of cellulose microfibrils from wood and higher plants such as celery, sugar beet, tunicin and flax, as well as analysis of historical materials such as silk, paper, leather and glass. The  effects of cleaning and repairs on historical materials was a major feature of this work.

Dr Kennedy joined Historic Scotland in 2006 and became Head of Science in early 2007 and Senior Conservation Scientist in 2011. As well as managing the science unit, Craig has supervised research internships, and co-supervised a number of studentships with Universities in to areas relating to historic building deterioration. The research carried out during this time included on-site analysis of Historic Scotland's Properties in Care as well as supporting and carrying out fundamental research in to building material decay and conservation.

In August 2013 Craig joined Heriot Watt University's School of the Built Environment as a Senior Lecturer.

Current research includes analysis of historic glass from archaeological dig sites and in situ, and timber, with continuing interest in the utilisation of science as part of the conservation process.

He is currently Director of Studies for the Edinburgh campus in the subject areas of Quantity Surveying and Construction Project Management, is a member of the Heriot-Watt University Senate (term 2021-2024), and the University Discipline Committee.

Research Group Contact Details

Craig's current research group consists of:

Jessica Bowden (jeb2000@hw.ac.uk) - Exploring Links Between Heritage, Memory And Sense Of Place In Order To Understand How Older Adults Interact With Their Local Historic Environment

PhD Studentship Vacancy: Understanding and quantifying the risks to Scottish stained glass windows in terms of skills and materials Closing date March 22nd 2024

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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