The project

Project coordinator Vania Virgili, National Research Council, Italy
Funding Programme HORIZON-INFRA-2021-DEV-02
Duration 2022 – 2024

Making a leap towards a permanent research infrastructure for heritage science

Research capacities and resources are crucial to enhancing the understanding, care and sustainable use of heritage to enrich people’s lives, both today and in the future. The mission of the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) is to deliver integrated access to interdisciplinary expertise, data and cutting-edge technologies.

Since 2017 E-RIHS has been preparing to become an established, distributed research infrastructure, integrating world-leading European facilities into an organisation with a clear identity and a strong cohesive role within the global heritage science community. In this context, the Implementation Phase (IP) of E-RIHS, funded by the European Union, started in 2022 with the aim of supporting the community in establishing the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).


The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) was designed as a pan-European distributed infrastructure with the vision of replacing the traditional science-for-art approach to conservation through the new widely interdisciplinary sector of Heritage Science (HS) to improve the understanding and sustainable preservation of cultural heritage. E-RIHS was admitted in the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap and is preparing to take the legal form of an ERIC.

The E-RIHS Implementation Phase (E-RIHS IP) consortium brings together representatives of the national nodes of the countries that expressed their willingness to support the establishment of the ERIC and one permanent observer. It aims at preparing E-RIHS ERIC to become operational in the field of heritage science at the European and global level. The objectives and methodology underpinning the E-RIHS IP work plan target and intend to overcome the bottlenecks highlighted in the recommendations of the 2020 ESFRI monitoring report, the EC High Level Expert Group report (2020) and the ERIC step 1 assessment (2021).

Coordinated actions are dedicated to:

  • Implement the E-RIHS governance structure and finalise its distributed architecture
  • Support the E-RIHS management with strategies and related implementation plans regarding HR, procurement, risk management and quality system
  • Maintain and build upon the established E-RIHS excellence in user access and foster FAIR open access with the design of the DIGILAB platform
  • Strengthen international cooperation, cultivate synergies and consolidate the HS community around E-RIHS, while establishing E-RIHS in the landscape of EU RIs and global initiatives
  • Secure the ERIC sustainability and unlock its socioeconomic impact potential by providing E-RIHS with an updated business plan and a marketing strategy tailored for its new lifecycle phase.