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The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science Preparatory Phase

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - E-RIHS PP (The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science Preparatory Phase)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-08-01 do 2020-09-30

The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) is a distributed infrastructure dedicated to furthering research and innovation in heritage science, the interdisciplinary domain of the scientific study of heritage. Heritage science encompasses all forms of scientific enquiry into objects, buildings and landscape sites that are endowed with cultural and/or historical importance. It draws on diverse disciplines across arts, humanities, sciences and engineering, and focuses on enhancing the understanding, care and sustainable use of heritage in times of global change so it can enrich people’s lives, both today and in the future.

Europe is a global leader in heritage science, with a well-established reputation for innovative research that combines complementary knowledge and skills from many diverse disciplines. ERIHS seeks to enhance this role by providing greater access to expertise, know-how, research capacity and resources through four main platforms, representing diverse facilities and their associated expertise:
• E-RIHS ARCHLAB – archives of scientific information and physical reference collections;
• E-RIHS FIXLAB – a diverse portfolio of fixed analytical facilities;
• E-RIHS MOLAB – a series of mobile laboratory units;
• E-RIHS DIGILAB – digital knowledge and data repositories, collaborative tools and online facilities.

Beyond coordinating external researcher (user) access to a formidable range of expertise, instruments, and data relative to heritage artefacts, collections and their historical context, E-RIHS generates and disseminates new research activities and knowledge, engages audiences, enables training, supports the development of standards and policies, and makes available a wide range of specialized services and products. Through this, E-RIHS fosters a culture of interdisciplinary exchange, discussion and cooperation.

By unlocking the potential of research on heritage of all types, E-RIHS, helps to develop a deeper understanding of the origins and significance of heritage, mechanisms of material change and degradation, the effects of conservation treatments, and the impacts of environmental change on tangible cultural heritage. It facilitates testing and development of materials and tools for improved conservation and interpretation, and drives innovation through adapting and applying cutting-edge technology, interweaving natural science and engineering approaches with those from humanities and social science, and by identifying challenges and gaps in knowledge and resources.

E-RIHS aspires to become a global entity by building on the internationally leading status of European heritage science. In the fullness of time, E-RIHS will establish an infrastructure that will integrate partners and facilities from outside the EU and reach a worldwide community of external researchers (users).

E-RIHS PP worked for preparing the establishment of E-RIHS ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium), thus, along with the planned deliverables, the base documents for the application of the Step 1 submission were also prepared, and precisely: the Statutes, the Scientific and Technical Description and the Financial Annex. For this latter, a specific Costbook was derived from the Financial Plan.
The two major objectives of E-RIHS PP in view of its mission were:
A. to develop a sound business case, including a sustainable financial plan, for implementing an inclusive E-RIHS ERIC with the support of as many as possible founders from Member States and Associated Countries, addressing all the issues highlighted by ESFRI in their evaluation report of 2016;
B. to produce a strong implementation plan for the E-RIHS ERIC.

Objective A was achieved as described in Deliverable 11.1 the E-RIHS ERIC Business Plan version 1.0.
Objective B was achieved as described in D11.2 the E-RIHS ERIC Implementation Plan version 1.0.
The activities of the Preparatory Phase of the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science, E-RIHS PP, were completed as planned and the objectives of the project were achieved.

Concerning the establishment of E-RIHS ERIC, which is the core mission of E-RIHS PP, the most relevant success of the project has been, in December 2019, the establishment of the interim General Assembly (iGA) of E-RIHS ERIC. The iGA was created upon the initiative of the Italian Ministry of Research following the experience of the Stakeholders Advisory Board (SAB), created by the E-RIHS PP project as an advisory group to review the preparatory documents and to maintain contacts with the potential founding members of the ERIC. According to its Terms of Reference, the iGA is a group of governmental representatives supporting the submission of the Step 1 proposal for E-RIHS to be established as an ERIC. Seventeen potential founding countries of E-RIHS joined (as of today) the iGA by appointing to it national ministry-level delegates. The Intergovernmental Organisation ICCROM joined the iGA too, being a potential founding member or permanent observer of E-RIHS ERIC. Since its creation, the iGA started periodic meetings to discuss, negotiate and adopt the base documents needed to apply for Step 1 for E-RIHS ERIC. As such, it clearly superseded the SAB of the project, where such documents were only discussed. The SAB activities were then discontinued. At the time of the writing of this report, the iGA is still negotiating the conditions to submit the Step 1 application for E-RIHS ERIC.

Another outstanding success of E-RIHS was being cited in the Paris declaration of the Ministries of Culture (2019, May 3rd).

Finally, E-RIHS was confirmed in the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 after successfully passing the monitoring evaluation (June 2020).

The 40 Tasks of E-RIHS PP, assembled into 11 WPs (see Figure 1), produced 36 deliverables describing E-RIHS ERIC structure, operation and policies. The deliverables were elaborated through an open and wide international discussion. The 36 E-RIHS PP deliverables propose agreed solutions to all the remarks made by ESFRI in the Recommendations to E-RIHS after its acceptance to the Roadmap 2016.
The success of E-RIHS PP was certified by the final report of the reviewer, which claims that “Project has fully achieved its objectives and milestones” and “Project has delivered exceptional results with significant immediate or potential impact (even if not all objectives mentioned in the Annex 1 to the GA were achieved).” This successful completion now allows the E-RIHS ERIC to be finally started-up as a permanent European RI with a sustainable plan of activities. The extension towards a global RI, in which E-RIHS could be the leading partner, will further expand its impact. E-RIHS will bridge scientific communities across the ERA by connecting researchers and scholars in the Humanities and Natural Sciences, fostering a cross-disciplinary culture of exchange and cooperation which will make the ERA of HS a cohesive, attractive scientific domain with a clear, long-term global leadership.
ICCROM and E-RIHS sign the Letter of Cooperation
FIXLAB analysis (PIXE and RBS mapping) on Iranian lustre tiles (CC-by AGLAE CNRS)
MOLAB analysis on the Raphael's Madonna del Granduca (CC-by Marco Raffaelli, CNR INO)
MOLAB Analysis in the Cyprus Museum (CC-by Sorin Hermon, CYI)
ARCHLAB library: Institute of Cultural Heritage of Spain in Madrid (CC-by IPCE)