TEMPERA is a Marie Skłodowska Curie European Training Network that provided international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary state-of-the-art doctoral training to prepare the next generation of specialists in mass spectrometry-based ancient protein residues analysis for biomolecular diagnostics and conservation of cultural heritage material. Due to their chemical and mechanical properties, proteins have always represented the category of biomolecules most extensively exploited by humans to satisfy basic needs, including: nutrition, clothing, sheltering and transportation. Most of the cultural heritage objects produced using biogenic materials are rich in protein residues. In addition to their role in nutrition, the chemical and mechanical properties of proteins have always been exploited in a broad range of applications. Ancient proteins are found almost everywhere in cultural heritage. Yet, paleoproteomics still lacks a critical mass of researchers trained through a coherent curriculum to analyse degraded proteins from art, archaeology and palaeontology. However, before the implementation of TEMPERA, there have been very few specialists that have been trained to analyse ancient proteins. The almost complete lack of training in the study of ancient proteins is one of the factors negatively affecting the growth of paleoproteomic investigation. TEMPERA addressed this structural weakness in European applied research by creating a training environment that, for the first time, brought together in a network the laboratories which have, largely in isolation, developed the techniques upon which ancient protein analysis is built. TEMPERA provided training for ESRs to read ancient protein sequences and interpret the recovered information. This improved knowledge about production techniques and chemical preservation of cultural heritage materials, ultimately improving their safeguard and conservation. Europe’s cultural heritage, serves as a basis for communication of European common values, one of the world’s most diverse and rich patrimonies, attracting millions of visitors each year. It represents an important component of individual and collective identity, contributing to the cohesion of the EU and playing a fundamental role in European cultural integration. Preserving EU heritage is not only a priceless investment to support sustainable tourism, but more importantly, a strong moral duty towards future generations in an atmosphere of openness, democracy, and peaceful relations.
The TEMPERA objectives were:
1. To develop a strategic, powerful training platform to equip the next generation of cultural heritage conservation scientists and technologists with the skills to exploit the latest biomolecular technologies,
2. To train a cohort of versatile and polyhedric researchers who are able to transverse cross-disciplinary boundaries, to establish collaborative trans-sectorial initiatives on different research disciplines with a common intent in line with EU main policies.
3. To grow a generation of researchers who can have an impact on establishing common policy, scientific and ethical standards and protocols to the analysis of our shared European heritage.
4. To generate research that will establish innovative analytical methods, leading to the development of new products and services for the study and protection of European cultural heritage materials.