Theodora Moutsiou MOUTSIOU | July 7, 2021, 09:00 am

This year’s CHNT Conference theme “The World’s Heritage in the Digital Age: New Technologies towards Sustainable Research, Conservation and Communication” fits in extremely well with Horizon Europe’s mission for European Cultural Heritage.

Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation for the years 2021-2027 was recently announced with a budget of €95.5 billion. The programme supports the creation and better dispersal of excellent knowledge and technologies while facilitating collaboration and strengthening EU policies to tackle global challenges. Cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are considered by the EU major drivers of growth and social development in Europe, while their innovation potential can increase Europe’s competitiveness.

With the motto “Build our future from our past” the new EU funding programme aims to safeguard and valorise European cultural heritage, using new and innovative approaches in cooperation with creative stakeholders. Cultural heritage is recognised as an important and strategic area of European research and innovation and a key European policy priority that needs solid research to produce evidence for future policy-making. In Horizon Europe, Cultural heritage has a specific intervention area in Cluster 2 – Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society with a budget of €2.28 billion ( Cluster 2 actions support green, digital and innovative European cultural heritage in the sector of arts, the cultural and creative industries. Emphasis is given on research and innovation for a greener cultural heritage focusing on sustainable materials and methods to improve the conservation, protection and restoration of tangible heritage, including monuments and artefacts. Activities are also aimed at developing new or exploiting further existing digital and cutting-edge technologies that will increase the online access of cultural resources and boost innovation in the arts and culture sector.

The activities supported in the framework of Horizon Europe are expected to result in new innovative solutions that will position the EU as a world leader in conservation technologies, management, digitisation and curation of digital heritage assets, while innovative approaches will increase access to, understanding and engagement with cultural heritage and the arts. Although the budget allocation of €2.28 out of €95.5 billion is limiting what can be achieved, the recognition of Cultural Heritage as a key research priority for the EU reflects the importance of Europe’s rich cultural heritage and its common values to shape our present and build our future through the development of a solid European cultural heritage innovation ecosystem.

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