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Brussels, 20 November 2000

Protecting cultural heritage
- From culture through science to business –
Strasbourg, 22-24 November 2000

Keywords: EU research, cultural heritage, technology transfer

For an example of a cultural heritage protection project:

Protecting Europe’s cultural heritage is no longer an exclusive domain for architects, art historians and archaeologists. Scientists and high tech companies are playing an increasingly important role in this challenging field. This week’s conference organised jointly by the European Commission (Directorate General Research) and the French Presidency (Ministry of Culture and Communication) is expected to be a unique forum for the presentation of the latest achievements and discussion of remaining challenges to be tackled.

The objective of the conference is to encourage European industrial participation, particularly of SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), in the development and assessment of methodologies and technologies for protecting cultural heritage. It aims at promoting research networking and technology transfer in related sectors such as building and construction, engineering, products, equipment, and museum technologies. It also focuses on raising awareness and increasing involvement among national and local administrations and public and private organisations responsible for the management and sustainable exploitation of cultural heritage. The conference will provide a platform for technology transfer among European enterprises, research institutions and end-users such as museums to encourage cooperation and thereby increase socio-economic benefits for European citizens.

Since 1986, the European Union has supported the biggest international research programme on the effects of the environment on cultural heritage. The programme has enhanced the involvement of European industry in research for the protection of cultural heritage, and particularly encouraged SMEs to participate. This is a genuine challenge for SMEs and researchers to work together much more than in the past. Research can improve SMEs’ products and technologies - and thus European competitiveness - in an area where Europe is already the world leader. This will also have a corollary effect on the quality of urban life, and the tourist industry with consequent job creation.

The strasbourg conference brings together a very wide range of interest groups featuring a strong participation from Central and Eastern European countries – and also that of the Vatican, world-wide one of the major owner and administrator of cultural heritage.

There are already a number of European SMEs working on very advanced and sophisticated methods such as laser techniques to clean historically valuable buildings eroded by time and pollution, or shaped memory alloys to protect them from earthquakes.

The conference will focus on the following themes:

For further information, please contact:

Julia Acevedo Bueno, Scientific officer, Research DG
Tel: +32.2.295.20.43, E-mail : Julia.Acevedo-Bueno@ec.europa.eu

Piia Huusela, Press Officer, Research DG
Tel: +32-2-299.21.38,E-mail: Piia.Huusela@ec.europa.eu

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PRESS RELEASES | 19.12.2000