The Cyprus Institute designated as the regional node for the Eastern Mediterranean
The European Commission approved the allocation of approximately four million Euros towards the establishment of the Pan European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Sciences (E-RIHS). The Cyprus Institute’s Science and Technology for Archaeological Research Center (STARC) is a significant partner of E-RIHS. E-RIHS PanEuropean Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science Preparatory Phase, is funded through the program for research and innovation H2020 -INFRADEV-2016-2017 (Development and long-term sustainability of new pan-European research infrastructures).
The E-RIHS consortium includes institutions representing fifteen EU members of the European Union and Israel and it is led by the National Council of Research of Italy. The International Center for the Study and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) takes an active role in E-RIHS by extending its reach to countries outside the European Union, with the long-term vision to transform E-RIHS into a global research institution.
E-RIHS brings together researchers from the humanities, natural sciences and engineering, such as art historians, archaeologists, architects, paleo-anthropologists, restorers, curators, computer scientists, chemists and physicists, who unite their efforts to develop together the emerging discipline of Heritage Science. The main scope of E-RIHS is to establish a pan- European distributed research infrastructure, with laboratories and research units aggregated in national nodes and regional hubs, which offers knowledge expertise and use of state-of-the-art instrumentation, innovative investigation methodologies and access to scientific data. Such an infrastructure is organized in four main platforms: a mobile infrastructure (Molab), including portable instrumentation for in – situ (on the spot) non-invasive and non-destructive analyses, suitable for the investigation of archaeological sites, monuments or non-movable museum assets, a fixed infrastructure (Fixlab), consisting of large-scale instrumentation, such as synchrotrons, accelerators and so on, archives of data (Archlab), containing valuable and unique information hosted in museums, galleries and research institutes, and Digilab, for providing direct access to scientific data and information stored in databases, digital libraries and knowledge repositories.
The Cyprus Institute, with its Science and Technology for Archaeological Research Center (STARC) is partner in E-RIHS since its launch in March 2016. CyI’s STARC is pursuing, inter alia, the study of Cultural Heritage through analytical and digital methods such as bio-chemical-physical diagnostics of works of art and of remnants of human activity, 3D documentation of heritage assets and development of digital libraries for knowledge management. Through E-RIHS it shall provide access to its advanced research infrastructure, such as STARLAB, CyI’s unique self-sustained mobile laboratory for Heritage Science. Due to Cyprus’ strategic location and its regional and local scientific collaborative network, featuring its strong partnership with the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation and Leventis Municipal Museum and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina among others, The Cyprus Institute has been designated as the E-RIHS regional hub for the Eastern Mediterranean, being the European gateway to the region.
Along with E-RIHS, The Cyprus Institute participates in three other pan- European Infrastructures: ACTRIS - the European Research Infrastructure for the observation of Aerosol, Clouds, and Trace gases, EU-SOLARIS – The European infrastructure on Concentrating Solar Thermal and Solar Chemistry technologies and PRACE - Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe. The participation of the The Cyprus Institute marked by the European Commission as of highest research priority, represents a major achievement for Cyprus and a formal recognition of the high-level research undertaken at the institute and its scientific and socio-economic role it plays in the region.
The preparative phase of E-RIHS will start in January 2017 and will last for three years, during which functional aspects of the pan-European distributed Laboratory will be established, such as its governance, economic and sustainability plans, policies, training programs and above all the legal and operative steps needed for the creation of the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), in coordination with the involved countries and under the leadership of Italy. With support from the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and the patronages of Regione Toscana and Florence municipality and under the guidance of CNR, the European candidate to host the legal and operative seat of E-RIHS is the city of Florence, while Nicosia or Paphos to host its Eastern Mediterranean regional node.