The EU supports various aspects of European cultural heritage research and promotes excellence in heritage in all its forms since 1986, through its Research Framework Programmes.
Areas supported include research in:
- conservation and ICT technologies
- disaster resilience and climate change
- energy efficiency in historic buildings
- underwater cultural heritage
- art, culture and humanities, such as the emergence of a European common identity, transnational dialogue and understanding
The upcoming new EU Research and Innovation policy for Cultural Heritage
The Commission is planning to engage in a new, more dynamic EU Cultural Heritage Research and Innovation Agenda that is in line with Horizon 2020, the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation as well as with the 2014 Commission Communication ' Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe' .
To help set out such an agenda, an Expert Group on Cultural Heritage was set up in 2014. It is chaired by Mr Philippe Busquin, former Commissioner for Research. In their report, 'Getting cultural heritage to work for Europe' (2015), the experts show how an innovative use of cultural heritage can be an investment opportunity for Europe leading to economic growth, development of new markets and job creation, to social cohesion and to environmental sustainability. However this will require a dynamic approach, which sees cultural heritage as an integral part of today's economy and society, shifting away from the mere conservation of monuments and sides to transmission.
The new agenda for EU Research and Innovation on cultural heritage sets out three interrelated objectives:
- promoting innovative finance, investment, governance, management and business models which will increase the effectiveness of cultural heritage as an economic production factor
- promoting the innovative use of cultural heritage to encourage integration, inclusiveness and cohesion
- promoting the innovative use of cultural heritage to enable sustainable development of European cultural landscapes, seascapes and environments
To achieve these objectives, the EU will, via Horizon 2020, fund actions that relate to heritage led urban regeneration, sustaining cultural landscapes and seascapes, inclusive governance and innovative financing and business models.
Possible synergies and links with other funding mechanisms (such as the EU Structural and Investment Funds) will also be explored.
Additional cultural heritage related support will be given to research infrastructures, to benchmarking and statistics and for creating a knowledge base. This will be done by mobilising relevant Joint Programming Initiatives (such as JPI Cultural Heritage and JPI Urban Europe), the European Technology Platform on Construction Cultural Heritage Focus Area and other public and private actors at EU and international level.
Past research on Cultural Heritage
Under FP7, the previous EU research and innovation funding programme (2007-2013), more than 170 M€ were allocated to research projects on cultural heritage.
Projects were funded under the themes Environment, Social Sciences and Humanities, Digital Cultural Heritage, (e)-infrastructure and coordination of national R&I activities. The EU also supported a new research infrastructure policy and helped to establish two new European research infrastructures for arts and humanities and for languages.
Specifically, through the FP7 Environment theme, research focused on better assessing and understanding the mechanisms by which damage to cultural heritage occurs, and on finding the best possible measures and means to ensure that tangible cultural heritage is protected. Particular support was given to the development of advanced methodologies, technologies and tools which can be applied to a wide range of cultural heritage assets and specific damage risks.