How can research and innovation benefit Europe’s cultural heritage?

How can research and innovation benefit Europe’s cultural heritage?
© European Union 2018

In the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the European Commission is organising a high-level Horizon 2020 conference on research and innovation and cultural heritage to present some of the most promising innovations.

Research and innovation can encourage smart and technologically advanced solutions to the challenges Europe is facing in trying to protect and benefit from its cultural heritage. Among the topics to be discussed are the actions taken by the commission to contribute to long-term synergies between science, research, innovation and culture for the benefit of cultural heritage. These include:

  • Providing digital access to physically inaccessible sites;
  • Helping preserve priceless artefacts; and
  • Exploring new ways of valuing cultural heritage for the creative industries.

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, who is in charge of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “We need to preserve our cultural heritage for the next generations. Research and innovation are our great allies – they offer advanced solutions and technologies to achieve this. We are using the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage to highlight a long-term projects aimed at protecting and promoting heritage.”

Commissioner for Research, Sciences and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, added: “Cultural heritage is a limitless source of innovation where traditions meet with cutting-edge technologies. Our ambition is to make Europe the world leader in heritage-based innovation with support from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme.”

Assessing the EU-funded research

The commission will also present its policy review ‘Innovation in Cultural Heritage Research’, which assesses EU-funded research on cultural heritage and proposes improvements to the European Research Framework after 2020.

Between 2014 and 2020, the EU is expected to invest €500m in research and innovation on cultural heritage. The policy review is one element of the innovation pillar of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The innovation pillar consists of three projects which are run by the Commission with EU member states, the Council of Europe, and European universities:

  • To improve Europeans’ skills on cultural heritage;
  • Involve citizens better in making decisions about cultural heritage; and
  • Promote the role of science and technologies in cultural heritage.

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, concluded: “Technological and digital innovations have a unique potential because they facilitate the access to our heritage in a way that has never been achieved in our history. For example, the online platform Europeana is not just a digital vault that preserves our cultural heritage but a channel and an open door to our past, present and future.”

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