E-RIHS progress state
Heritage Science has brought about the need of structuring the net of infrastructures operating throughout Europe.
Fragmentation, duplication of efforts, isolation of small research groups put at risks the competitive advantage of European heritage science research, promoted so well by the unique cultural heritage. The long‐term tradition of this field of research, the ability to combine with innovation, and the integration promoted by EU‐funded projects such as EU‐ARTECH, CHARISMA and IPERION CH in conservation science, and ARIADNE in archaeology represent the
background of E-RIHS. E-RIHS exploits the synergy of the cooperation among the academy, research centers and cultural institutions.
The global lead that the EU holds in this research field, so precariously supported by a combination of national and EU measures, requires a joint and resolved effort. This has been fully recognized by the European Union with the continuous and reiterated support of initiatives aimed at integrating existing Heritage Science infrastructures, as well as, with a focus on Member States’ national research programs, the JPI on Cultural
Heritage, coordinating efforts of 17 EU national funding bodies supporting heritage science. The enthusiastic reviews of these initiatives testify the success of their action to advance knowledge and to establish a research community, acknowledged as “advanced” in official EU documents concerning conservation, or quickly growing in the field of archaeology as shown by the performance indicators of the relevant project ARIADNE.
This demonstrates beyond any doubt both the scientific and the socio‐economic importance connected with Heritage Science: it is a sector and a research community that has achieved the maturity necessary to make the leap towards a permanent European Research Infrastructure that will impact broadly on society and economy.
Steps for implementation
E-RIHS is currently in the Preparatory Phase which will be used to address legal status and governance/management organization.
This will lead to application to ERIC (or to other suitable legal form). The establishment of a legal structure and governance and the refinement of the business plan for long-term sustainability will be the three most important deliverables, together with demonstrators of users access as implemented by the consortium availing of the existing infrastructure projects.
Preliminary work will also be done in the framework of the H2020 IPERION-CH project started in May 2015.
E-RIHS will be launched as a stand-alone RI in 2020. Further developments are planned for connecting and including partners and facilities outside EU, and gradually reaching the status of a global distributed research infrastructure.