The 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 European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) supports research on heritage interpretation, preservation, documentation and management. State-of-the-art tools and services will be provided by cross-disciplinary groups of researchers to cross-disciplinary users and scientific communities working to advance knowledge about heritage and to devise innovative strategies for its preservation. E-RIHS connects researchers in the humanities and natural sciences and fosters a transdisciplinary culture of exchange and cooperation. E-RIHS pursues the integration of the European world) class facilities to create a cohesive entity playing a connecting role in the global community of heritage science.



Fragmentation, duplication of efforts, isolation of small research groups put at risk the competitive advantage of European heritage science research, spearheaded so well in the past by its unique cultural heritage. The long-term tradition of this field of research, the ability to combine with innovation and the integration promoted by EU-funded projects such as EU-ARTECH, CHARISMA and IPERION CH in conservation science, and ARIADNE in archaeology represent the background of E-RIHS. E-RIHS exploits the synergy of cooperation among the academy, research centers and cultural institutions. Both the scientific and the socio-economic importance connected with heritage science are nowadays evident. 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 the economy.



E-RIHS is on its way to becoming a pan-European distributed research infrastructure with the legal form of a European Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). E-RIHS will have a star design, with a Central Hub in Italy and National Hubs in all participating countries. National Hubs could possibly be organized in Regional Hubs.

E-RIHS is currently in its preparatory phase (supported by the European Commission through the E-RIHS PP project - H2020-INFRADEV-2016-2) on the way to submit a proposal to establish E-RIHS ERIC.

E-RIHS PP partnership joins 16 countries (15 EU Member States plus Israel), 2 ERICs and 3 institutions representing scientific communities. E-RIHS PP also counts 6 observers and involves over 100 heritage science institutions worldwide.

Participation to E-RIHS ERIC is open to more potential founding members - or observers - throughout the next years of the preparatory phase.



The global dimension lead that the EU holds in this research field, supported today by an unstable combination of national and EU measures, requires a joint and resolved effort. The proposal for establishing a GR (Global Research Infrastructure) based on the E-RIHS partnership was submitted to the GSO (Group of Senior Officials) in 2014. An international initiative will be carried on in parallel with the preparatory phase of E-RIHS for connecting and including partners facilities outside the EU, gradually reading the status of a globally distributed research infrastructure of which E-RIHS could be the leading partner. The intergovernmental organization ICCROM is supporting the initiative and is committed to helping setting up the future legal entity of the global infrastructure.

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