Survey and outcomes of projects within the environment theme: from 5th to 7th Framework programme
Europe's cultural heritage is invaluable and irreplaceable, and yet faces numerous environmental threats. Since 1986, the European Union (EU) has supported research and innovation projects aiming to improve the preservation of cultural heritage. This study represents a synthesis of all cultural heritage research projects funded within the Environment Theme, up to 2012, through the EU's Framework Programmes (FPs) FP5, FP6 and FP7. The projects were analysed according to criteria including the types of organisations involved, their geographical distribution, types of outcomes and their impacts... (social, economic and political), as well as the level of cooperation and coordination among partners. A separate section gives an overview of 25 projects funded through FP7, grouped into thematic clusters according to six different challenges. It emerges from this analysis that throughout the various Framework Programmes (FPs) the networking within and between project consortia has contributed to improving the knowledge needed for preserving cultural heritage and has created a European research community in the field of cultural heritage preservation. Although the dissemination of project results is embedded in each project, there is room for improvement in terms of knowledge transfer and commercial exploitation of results. The commercialisation process would certainly benefit from the help of specialists in this field. Fragmentation is still a major issue in cultural heritage research. In line with the general approach of the European Research Area (ERA), further efforts are required to improve communication and coordination of research, including the strengthening of links with policy and user needs. It is important that research leads to practical solutions for conservation experts and that it results in viable tools for the widest possible circle of end-users.