Tag Archives: preparatory phase

ICCROM and E-RIHS signed a statement of cooperation

The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science will have more and easier access to a game-changing global expertise, thanks to a newly announced partnership. On 6. September at the Interim E-RIHS PP meeting in Warsaw, Luca Pezzatti, the E-RIHS PP coordinator, signed the letter of cooperation with Webber Ndoro, Director – General of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). In the presence of Alison Heritage, ICCROM’s Heritage Science Officer, E-RIHS has sealed the first partnership with a renowned global heritage organisation.

The event took place in the state-of-the-art Biological and Chemical Research Centre at Warsaw University (CNBCh UW), a research facility located on the “Ochota” Campus. The CNBCh UW is dedicated to scientists conducting advanced research in the development of new technologies in the fields of cultural heritage, environmental conservation and new materials.

Luca Pezzatti, E-RIHS PP coordinator, and Alison Heritage, ICCROM’s Heritage Science Officer, finalising the signing of the statement during the E-RIHS PP meeting in Warsaw

Established in 1956, ICCROM works to promote the conservation of all forms of cultural heritage across the world. With a membership of 136 Member States, it supports those working on the front lines of heritage preservation, including scientists, conservators, museum curators, site managers, archivists, researchers and archaeologists through world-class initiatives in conservation training, information, research, cooperation and advocacy. For more information about ICCROM, see here.

This unique partnership will put a strong  emphasis on advocacy, training and capacity building, knowledge exchange, impact enhancement and institutional relationships. As the partners stated, “effective and ongoing global cooperation between countries, institutions, and stakeholders is fundamental for the sustainable conservation of cultural heritage. A key aspect of such cooperation is the advancement of conservation practice and capacities worldwide through shared access to up to date knowledge, tools and training. To this end heritage science, as a provider of knowledge and tools is a vital resource of
global importance for cultural heritage conservation.” For full text of the Statement of Cooperation between ICCROM & E-RIHS see here.

The UK hub is particularly keen on working with ICCROM on training and capacity building. ICCROM has an international reputation for developing innovative educational programmes, tools and materials for conservation and restoration, and organising professional training activities around the world. The partnership aims to establish joint “development and delivery of diverse
training opportunities to enable transdisciplinary working within heritage science”. The E-RIHS Training Academy, led by UCL, one of the UK hub members, will hugely benefit from the partnership in designing and delivering state of the art training to heritage scientists, research infrastructure managers and users.

The signing of the letter of cooperation demonstrates E-RIHS’s international commitment to strengthening strategic relationships, building global connections and collective capabilities, and establishing the international cooperation to come together to achieve common goals in the protection, conservation and management of cultural heritage. For more information about E-RIHS’s global vision, see here.


Notes from the first annual meeting of E-RIHS PP in Amsterdam

On 21-23 February 2018, the coordination team organised the E-RIHS annual meeting in Amsterdam. The overarching goal was to facilitate connection between internal and external stakeholders. To this end the key objectives of the meeting were to

  • Present and discuss the progress of E-RIHS work packages,
  • Connect E-RIHS national nodes with international observers and other delegates representing national and international heritage bodies
  • Collate feedback from all participating consortia (and individual partners) at national level and other delegates/ministry representatives about the draft versions of governance, scientific strategy and other key deliverables

Over 100 representatives from national hubs and national and international heritage organisations, such as ICCROM, Russia’s State Museums, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, were present to listen to the speeches held by – among others – Luca Pezzatti (E-RIHS Coordination Office), Loic Bertrand (Synchrotron SOLEIL), Polonca Ropret (Institute for the Protection Of Cultural Heritage Of Slovenia), Clive Billenness (University of Brighton) and Jan van t’Hof (Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency).

The consortium reaffirmed the strong positioning of the E-RIHS proposal regarding its scientific mission, the maturity and long-standing common experience, and the vision for clear and robust service portfolio and access for the international members – including new universal chronology services, digital services and training/support services. Additionally, several key observations were made during the presentations:

  • E-RIHS represents the largest consortium of heritage science capabilities;
  • The scientific value of the new research infrastructure has the potential to be a transformative mechanism to enable cross-disciplinary research;
  • It additionally has a pivotal place in providing new data discovery and access services that underpin scientific innovation;
  • E-RIHS has now a clear scientific strategy, positioning in the emerging heritage science and Research Infrastructure landscape

Selected elements of the agenda:

  • Russia’s interest in E-RIHS
  • Communication
  • E-RIHS Academy
  • Risk management
  • New services and catalogue of services
  • Financial planning
  • Governance
  • Innovation and sustainability
  • Access and user strategy

Further discussion about the developments of E-RIHS work packages will take place during an interim meeting, held on 17 April 2018 in Copenhagen.

Luca Pezzatti and Clive Billenness discussing E-RIHS risk management

European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science receives kick-start funding

The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) and its UK part (E-RIHS.uk) supports cross-disciplinary research on heritage interpretation, preservation, documentation and management. As the first dedicated infrastructure of its kind, it consists of National Hubs and a Central Hub, supporting fixed and mobile national scientific infrastructures of recognized excellence, physically accessible collections/archives and virtually accessible heritage data.

Professor May Cassar, Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, which is coordinating E-RIHS.uk, expressed optimism:

This recognition demonstrates the strength of this discipline as well as its strategic importance. Heritage science supports a range of UK sectors, such as museums generating  £1.5Bn p.a. income, while the conservation, repair and maintenance sector in England alone is  estimated at £4.7Bn. The sensors and instrumentation industry, supporting these activities, underpins a wide range of industrial activity with UK Sales amounting to £3Bn.

EU funding enables the 16 participating countries to develop the legal structure and the processes of access to research infrastructure, delivery of training, quality assurance as well as mobilise national heritage science communities.

Dr Ewan Hyslop, Head of Technical Research and Science, Historic Environment Scotland said:

It’s well documented that the effects of climate change present a serious, and increasing threat to heritage in Scotland, and it’s one of our organisation’s highest priorities to lead the sector in researching, understanding and addressing that impact. So today’s announcement comes as a timely and welcome boost.

Although the €4 million being announced today is of course a substantial financial investment, and serves to illustrate the extent of the problem being faced, perhaps the more encouraging aspect of today’s announcement is to see the formal commitment of some of the United Kingdom and Europe’s best and brightest organisations to pooling resources, sharing information and working together to tackle the challenges facing the sector.

The E-RIHS.uk partnership includes The British Museum, the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, Historic Environment Scotland, Cardiff University, Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron Source, The National Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, University College London, University of Bradford, University of Brighton and University of York.


The global lead that Europe holds in this research field has so far been supported by a combination of national and EU funding mechanisms, which now requires a collaborative, coordinated effort in order to maintain this lead. E-RIHS Central Hub will be sited in Florence, hosted by the Italian National Research Council and coordinated by Luca Pezzati (www.e-rihs.eu).