UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage



Our research has implications for organisations from industry, culture and government.

From policymakers and cultural institutions to major companies, interest in heritage management and heritage science is continuing to grow.

We share our research openly to create a shared knowledge environment with partners, whether by engaging practitioners, professionals or policymakers in our teaching, or involving UK and international academics, heritage and industry partners in our research.

We have collaborated with many of the world’s leading organisations in the field, including Historic Royal Palaces, English Heritage, the Getty Conservation Institute and UNESCO.

How to engage with us

Academic partners

A street in Ghent, Belgium

When developing academic collaboration, we seek partners whose expertise and research facilities come together with their own. We have strategic partnerships with the Italian National Research Council (CNR), research partnerships such as EU projects and COST networks, and training partnerships with the University of Oxford and Brighton University.

We are open to visiting researchers, as well as post-doctoral researchers such as Marie Curie Fellows. The academic disciplines the institute collaborates with ranges from arts and humanities to social and natural sciences, engineering and technology.

Case study: Ghent University

Led by UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, our partnership with Ghent University promotes academic exchanges in the fields of building physics, sustainable heritage and moisture in buildings. We are working to promote collaboration with Ghent University through co-supervised MSc dissertation projects and PhD theses, and the sharing of research and teaching materials.

Heritage partners

Photo of museum ceiling

From policymakers and cultural institutions to major companies, interest in heritage management and heritage science is continuing to grow.

We share research openly with our partners to create a shared knowledge environment. We have engaged practitioners, professionals & policymakers in our teaching, and have involved UK and international academics, heritage and industry partners in our research.

We collaborate with many of the world’s leading organisations in the field, including Historic Royal Palaces, English Heritage, the Getty Conservation Institute and UNESCO.

Case study: The Academic Heritage Partnership

Our partnership with Historic England aims to strengthen the link between heritage public policy, practice and its broad academic research base. It is designed to enhance heritage education and training, research outputs, outcomes, skills and service. We are providing collaborative education and training opportunities for students and heritage professionals, as well as sharing resources including staff, equipment, expertise and skills. We have undertaken joint research projects and shared support for and participation in providing historic environment services and shared institutional networks. Stage 1 of the implementation of the Academic Heritage Partnership was the co-creation and delivery of a Connected Curriculum short course to pilot the Heritage Evidence Foresight and Policy MSc.

Case study: Historic Environment Scotland

Our partnership with Historic Environment Scotland makes use of our shared research interests in conservation and monitoring of degradation of historic structures, building on our existing work on citizen science. Through this we set up an EPSRC DTP funded scholarship, including funding for a training course on building simulation for the PhD candidate.

We developed the Monument Monitor platform, a ground-breaking citizen science project that uses visitor photographs of Scottish heritage sites to help inform their condition monitoring and conservation. Our Inform Guide on Citizen Science engages volunteers and local communities in scientific research projects. We received an EPSRC Impact Award on citizen science for our work as part of this partnership.

Case study: Heritage Malta

Our partnership with Heritage Malta spans over 18 years and has had mutual benefits and added value for both organisations. The partnerships enables our Sustainable Heritage MSc students to participate in fieldwork on cultural heritage sites in Malta. Project sites have included a variety of museums, landmarks, and national monuments. Most recently, our students presented their field work in Fort Delimara to British High Commissioner in Malta and Heritage Malta. As well as enriching the academic experience of our students, the partnership has also benefitted Heritage Malta, enabling further protection of world renowned cultural heritage sites.

Our previous projects with Heritage Malta:

  • 2004-05: Condition assessment and feasibility study report on Auberge de France for the purpose of its conversion into a national museum of the social development of the Maltese language
  • 2005-06: National Museum of Fine Arts Valletta, Malta environmental study balancing the needs of the buildings, collections and people to inform the management of the NMFA and proposed refurbishment project
  • 2006-07: Ghar Dalam museum and cave feasibility study
  • 2007-08: Environment and collections Folklore and Science Museums, Citadel, Rabat, Gozo
  • 2008-09: Feasibility study report for the Malta Maritime Museum
  • 2009-10: Feasibility study of the collections environment in the National Museum of Archaeology basement level
  • 2010-11: Inquisitor’s Palace, Museum of Ethnography, Birgu, Malta
  • 2011-12: Fort St Elmo relocation study recommendations and action plan
  • 2012-13: Back home project relocation study on the National Museum of Fine Arts
  • 2013-14: Birgu Armoury Inquisitor’s Palace – Reserve collections relocation study
  • 2014-15: Malta’s buses – a new route for industrial heritage
  • 2015-16: A new museum for Gozo
  • 2016-17: St Paul’s Catacombs complex, Rabat, Malta, environmental impact study
  • 2017-18: Environmental Study and Heritage Impact Assessment of the Interpretation Centre and Heritage Park linking to the Megalithic Temples in Ġgantija, Xagħra, Gozo
  • 2018-19: The chapel of the nativity of the Virgin, Fort St Angelo
  • 2019-20: Environmental study of the Domus Romana Museum, Mdina, Malta
  • 2020-21: Missed due to COVID
  • 2021-22: A study of Villa Guardamangia, Pietà, Malta
  • 2022-23: Fort Delimara (in progress)

Industry partners

Modern building

Increasingly, businesses are seeing opportunities in the institute's research to collaborate and develop new or improved products for competitive advantage.

We work together with companies to develop the innovation potential of their research. SMEs and large international companies have sought our expertise and knowledge in sectors ranging from sensors and instrumentation to consumer manufacturing and insurance.

Our links with industry associations have enabled the institue to develop an enterprising culture which it passes on to researchers and students. We are also keen to partner with commercial arms of heritage organisations.

We engage in applied research in support of the objectives of organisations including:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Association of Critical Heritage Studies
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • EU Framework Programmes for Research
  • European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science
  • National Heritage Science Forum
  • Plastics Heritage European Association
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council

Policy partners

Houses of Parliament

Our research regularly forms the basis of advice to policymakers in Government. Just a short distance from Parliament, we offer a ready source of world-leading expertise on matters of sustainble heritage. Our Director, Professor May Cassar CBE, has served as special adviser to the inquiry by the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology into Science and Heritage. We have also advised the European Commission and European Parliament.

Policy partners have included:

  • Department of Culture, Media and Sport
  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Museum, Libraries and Archives Council