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Cultural Heritage and Global Change

12 December 2011

Professor May Cassar (Director, UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage) convened this one day workshop on behalf of the League of European Research Universities (LERU).  The workshop coincided with the commencement of the Joint Programming Initiative and the development of the Strategic Research Agenda on Cultural Heritage and Global Change

The workshop brought together senior academics from UCL, as well as from other LERU institutions, in a lively cross-disciplinary conversation which engaged those with heritage interests in the arts and humanities as well as those with expertise in the application of science and technology to cultural heritage.

Workshop objectives

The goal of the workshop was to influence as much as possible the development of actions undertaken in the context of the JPI "cultural heritage and global change", in particular the development of the strategic research agenda. The concrete goal of the meeting was to discuss which specific topics within 'Cultural heritage and global change' participants thought future research projects should focus on and to discuss how their research could contribute to addressing the societal challenge.

Another important goal was to raise awareness among researchers of the existence and goals of the Joint Programming Initiative. It was likely that grand societal challenges, such as the conservation of cultural heritage, will influence future research funding through national and European programmes quite intensively.  LERU believed it was crucial that the scientific community was consulted as much as possible in the setting up of these programmes. The workshop was also an excellent chance for researchers to meet their colleagues from other LERU universities, to exchange ideas and perhaps set the basis for future collaboration.

Policy context

Joint Programming - a concept introduced by the European Commission in July 2008 - is one of the five initiatives for implementing the European Research Area (ERA). The aim of Joint Programming is to increase the value of relevant national and EU R&D funding by concerted and joint planning, implementation and evaluation of national research programmes and so to avoid duplication. Within the concept of Joint Programming, Member States shall coordinate national research activities, bundle resources, benefit from complementarities and develop common research agendas, in order to face the grand societal challenges - all in variable geometry and therefore on a voluntary basis.

To realise this Joint Programming, the following Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) have been identified:

* Neurodegenerative diseases (pilot)

* Agriculture, food security and climate change

* A healthy diet for a healthy life

* Cultural heritage & global change

* Urban Europe

* Climate Knowledge

* More Years, Better Lives

* Antimicrobial Resistance

* Water Challenges

* Healthy & Productive Seas and Oceans

They are all confirmed by the European Council.

The different JPIs are being developed at very different speeds. Many of them have established a management board, mostly composed of people from the ministries of the involved member states and some JPIs also have a 'Scientific advisory board' that is responsible for drafting the strategic research agenda of the JPI.

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