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Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - IPERION CH (Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

The IPERION CH project integrated national facilities of recognised excellence in heritage science and connected experts from across Europe. Opening up world-class facilities to a wider number of researchers and academics fostered more collaborative work and strengthened the reputation of Europe’s heritage sciences.

IPERION CH comprises 23 partners from 12 Member States plus one in the US. A large number of institutions are taking part, while many more have expressed an interest. The project enables heritage scientist to access 19 first-class facilities grouped under three platforms: MOLAB, for portable laboratories; FIXLAB, for large-scale facilities; and ARCHLAB, for archives of technical and scientific data. Transnational access is accompanied by joint research activities, aimed at developing and improving the existing facilities, and networking activities, including training for users and scientists, dissemination and innovation.

Joint Research Activities (JRA) were focused on advancing diagnostics for improving access services and tools available to researchers and professionals in Heritage Science (HS) across Europe. JRA addressed the needs of the research community, aiming to: (a) advance techniques and instruments for non-invasive stratigraphic analyses, (b) integrate analytical techniques in new portable instruments and imaging devices, optimizing mobile diagnostics, (c) advance diagnostic techniques for efficient monitoring of deterioration and conservation treatments, (d) improve methods for analyses of organic components in historical and archaeological samples, (e) unify digital tools and protocols for storing, re-using and sharing multi-format scientific cultural heritage data.
IPERION CH took up the challenge of integrating national infrastructures to establish a unique European research infrastructure for restoration and conservation of Cultural Heritage, successfully launching the ESFRI Project E-RIHS, the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science, in the ESFRI Roadmap 2016 and supported by H2020 Preparatory Phase project E-RIHS PP (2017-2020, www.e-rihs.eu).
The IPERION CH project ended, after a six-month extension, at M54 (Oct. 31st, 2019).
WP1. Devoted to the management activities, all project bodies operated in a smooth and coordinated way. A system of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), adopted from the beginning of the project, confirmed that the project activities were successful and in line with the scheduled ones.
WP3, WP4 and WP5. The three platforms provided regularly their TNA services through the calls for proposals (http://www.iperionch.eu/access-to-facilities/) which were continuously open, with two deadlines per year for the selection process. In total, eight calls for access were issued, more than 200 proposals approved, providing access to more than 600 users.
WP6, WP7 and WP8. JRAs have progressed towards achieving a number of significant results leading to the prototype designs, their development and establishing protocols for the digitalization and storing of documentation and data. This has reflected in an increasing number of peer-reviewed scientific publications (http://www.iperionch.eu/publications-2/scientific-publications/).
All these results will be directly exploited by the next Integrating Activity project IPERION HS, and will finally be absorbed in the knowledge base of E-RIHS.
Strong networking activities (NA) and close scientific multi-disciplinary collaborations were the rule within the IPERION CH advanced community and were dealt with by the following WPs:
WP2 worked to develop an enhanced integration of the research infrastructure key activities and to provide support to dissemination and international cooperation. IPERION CH Users Meetings (UMs) were highly successful, having over 500 attendees from 38 countries. About international cooperation, many events were organised outside EU. Two symposia organised in Brazil and Mexico fostered collaboration with the CELAC region, providing the base for the current CELAC cooperation which E-RIHS is carrying on in the frame of the EU-CELAC-ResInfra project, started in Dec. 2019.
WP9. Several branded international events were successfully accomplished. WP10. Three Training Camps took place in Spain (2016); France (2018) and Italy (2018). Three Doctoral Summer Schools were held in Madrid (2016), Paris (2017) and in Ravenna (2018). More than 100 attendees joint the events (http://www.iperionch.eu/training-calls/). The user satisfaction topped the KPI threshold, with an average 95%.
WP11. The website and social media profiles (https://twitter.com/iperionch were continuously updated. Two newsletters were issued.
WP12. The activities devoted to sustainability were essential in both the winning the position in 2016 ESFRI roadmap for E-RIHS and in anticipating several issues which were exploited by its Preparatory Phase, like drafting E-RIHS business plan, agreeing on the best legal form, and on its hosting country.
From prehistoric cave paintings through to contemporary street art and everything in-between, Europe’s cultural heritage is second to none. Conserving and restoring artworks, architecture and museum collections require expertise and resources, both of which demand investment. The IPERION CH project aimed not only to make more efficient use of European knowledge and expertise, but to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of looking after Europe’s cultural heritage.
IPERION CH was committed to creating a fertile environment for European Heritage Science research, advancing knowledge and the international role of Europe. This was pursued by overcoming fragmentation, by rationalising resources and by fostering break-through discoveries.
IPERION CH finally fulfilled its declared missions: the project served a wide research community of users, while at the same time pushed the state-of-the-art of its tools and services and advanced the level of integration among its partner institutions beyond the status of an integrating activity project, towards the way of operation of an established EU research infrastructure.
In terms of successful integration networking and cooperation activities, the admission of E-RIHS to the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap represents one of the major achievements of IPERION CH. The project also contributed to preparatory activities, anticipating the now ongoing preparatory phase of E-RIHS ERIC.
More added value in the project resulted from the creation of several multidisciplinary user groups capable to present complex problems for being answered by the research infrastructure capacities, and to better understand the results, to enhance the creation of knowledge in heritage science.
More than 110 research papers were published as results of IPERION CH activities, and are now accessible in Openaire and Zenodo.
Most of IPERION CH results will eventually feed into the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science, E-RIHS. This ambitious infrastructure project plans to integrate cultural heritage research with related disciplines, such as chemistry, art history, architecture, archaeology and digital humanities. This will facilitate more holistic research projects in the future, and put cultural heritage science on the same level as more traditional scientific disciplines, supporting a permanent defragmentation of this fundamental European Research Area.
TRAINING_Doctoral Summer School in Paris in 2017
JRA_Bronze head digitized with the laser scanner and the obtained mesh grid with the area selected
ACCESS_MOLAB experience at the Munch Museum in Oslo