JPI CH and Time Machine join forces for a research and innovation partnership promoting the future of our Cultural Heritage

September 9, 2019

The Joint Programming Initiative Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI-CH) is an established strategic Member-State driven alliance of 18 European countries, that contributes significantly to the European Research Area, offering valuable structures, instruments and experiences. It aims to play a crucial part in the forthcoming Horizon Europe research landscape. Over the last 10 years, the JPI-CH has set up efficient pan-European governance for research on Cultural Heritage, gaining the long-term commitment of ministries and funding agencies to a strategic agenda and as well as to a multiannual financial plan. It is a proven efficient instrument to achieve the essential synergies and to conduct the collaborations with other relevant European partnerships and networks (JPI Urban Europe, JPI Climate, HERA, E-RIHS and now Time Machine) that will enable the joint construction of a streamlined Cultural Heritage research landscape thematic Knowledge Hubs in Europe.

Building on a long track record of highly innovative projects across the EU, the Time Machine consortium designs a large-scale digitisation and computing infrastructure that will enable Europe to turn its long history, as well as its multilingualism and multiculturalism, into a living social and economic resource for co-creating a common future. Time Machine was ranked first in the FET Flagship H2020 competition. It currently involves around 500 European institutions from 32 countries, including 184 top research institutes, a huge representation – 102 organisations – from galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM), as well as leading large enterprises, innovative SMEs, institutional bodies and strong civil society organisations. Time Machine will bring a strong boost in EU competitiveness in AI and ICT, new disruptive business models in key economic sectors (ICT, creative industries and tourism), as well as a transformational impact on Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and on all forms of education.

The two initiatives have decided to join forces, at a time when globalisation, changing demographics and the dominant position of private social media platforms threaten Europe’s cultural and democratic values and sense of belonging. These unprecedented transformations compel Europe to intensify its engagement with its past to facilitate an evidence-based dialogue between diverse histories and memories, their values and interdependencies, and build a common path across generations.

This alliance for a new Partnership is an efficient instrument to respond to these threats, as it combines a strong top-down commitment of Member-States with a bottom-up initiative from the key actors in the European cultural heritage landscape. The proposed pan-European initiative provides a solid foundation for (a) addressing the grand scientific and technological challenges in SSH, natural sciences, ICT and AI for the big data of the past, (b) developing the framework for the management of the large-scale shared infrastructures in the fields of Cultural Heritage and Social Sciences and Humanities based on common standards and synergies, and (c) converting the research results into concrete and substantial economic and social benefits during its lifetime and beyond. A realistic long-term operational roadmap with concrete objectives and milestones is the guarantee of an integrated approach, enabling Europe to make the required simultaneous advances in key areas that maximise socioeconomic impact.

We are convinced Europe can take the world leadership in Cultural Heritage, not only defending and protecting its own past, but offering technological solutions for the management on a world-wide scale of cultural heritage assets in a transparent, ethical and democratic manner.

Together, the JPI Cultural Heritage and Time Machine have all the knowledge, experience and support to successfully develop an ambitious long-term programme in the context of Horizon Europe. The partnership scheme offers the required large-scale research coordination in all relevant fields, since the extensive, long-term and sustained effort that is needed exceeds by far what can be achieved in typical national or European research and innovation projects. Moreover, as digital preservation and transmission of cultural heritage is a priority for almost every Member State, the partnership will offer crucial support in aligning national research agendas and managing multiple projects and networks in different European countries and cities.

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