Mission and vision - E-RIHS

Tangible cultural and natural heritage are key components of the European identity. The study and preservation of cultural and natural heritage is a global challenge for science and the European society at large. The need to incorporate technical fields and humanities in the field of cultural heritage research has led to the formation and emergence of a new scientific field in recent decades – Heritage Science.

The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) supports research on heritage interpretation, preservation, documentation and management. E-RIHS brings together researchers in the humanities and sciences and supports their collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge exchange. E-RIHS pursues the integration of European world-class facilities to create a cohesive entity playing a connecting role in the global community of heritage science and thus avoid fragmentation, unnecessary duplication of effords or isolation of small research groups, all of which threaten European heritage science. E-RIHS builds on the long-standing European tradition in this field of research and on the basis of previous EU-funded innovation and integration projects, such as EU-ARTECH, CHARISMA and IPERION CH in conservation science, or ARIADNE in archeology. E-RIHS exploits the synergy of the cooperation among the academy, research centers and cultural institutions. The research community has achieved the maturity necessary to make the leap towards a permanent European research infrastructure that will impact broadly on society and economy.

The mission of E-RIHS is to provide an integrated approach to highly specialized knowledge, data and technology in a standardized way and to integrate world-class European facilities into an organization with a clear identity and strong coherence in the heritage science environment.

In 2016, E-RIHS became the only research infrastructure project in the field of social and cultural innovation accepted in the ESFRI Roadmap. E-RIHS connects and provides innovations in heritage science by linking humanities research with the natural and technical sciences and mathematics, computer science and communication technologies.

Through an interdisciplinary access to the four platforms (ARCHLAB, DIGILAB, FIXLAB, MOLAB), E-RIHS ERIC supports a wide variety of research, from smaller object-focussed case studies, to large-scale and longer-term collaborative projects. Proposals for access are handled through a common entry point, their evaluation is based on excellence, following assessment by independent international peer review panels. E-RIHS ERIC promotes good practices and develops or advances methods designed to respond to the specific needs of cultural heritage assets, whether material or digital: objects, collections, buildings and sites.

The preparatory phase was supported by E-RIHS PP (Preparatory Phase) projects funded under H2020 in order to prepare documents for E-RIHS ERIC, the legal form of the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) established by the European Commission. The subsequent IPERION HS project focused on the establishment of national E-RIHS nodes and the necessary legal and organizational steps to establish the European ERIC as the legal form under which the new European infrastructure should operate.