Time Machine CSA: The End is Just the Beginning

Recollecting our Time Machine CSA Final Conference in Brussels on 17 February 2020

Over the previous 12 months, Time Machine has developed a vision and strategy that will sustainably contribute to innovation in the cultural heritage sector for the next decade and beyond. While this Large-Scale Research Initiative (LSRI) was initially striving to be part of the FET Flagship program, with significant funding under Horizon 2020, strategic changes by the European Commission which have eliminated funding under this program have necessitated adjustments in strategy and milestones to ensure that work can continue effectively. The focus will now be on short and mid-term goals (2-3 years), such as building some components of Time Machine through available project funding and creating immediate services for our members, as well as long-term goals (3+ years) such as securing more substantial LSRI funding under Horizon Europe and other mechanisms, continuing to grow the Time Machine community and expanding member services and benefits.

Our most immediate actions will primarily be focused on achieving the above mentioned short and mid-term goals, driven by the Time Machine Organisation (TMO) and thanks to the financial support of TMO members and national financial start-up support by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

Kicking off 2020

Our objectives for this year will revolve around creating a basic administrative infrastructure to ensure reliable and effective management of the Time Machine network, organising and growing our community to give us a louder voice, offering a basic set of concrete services and benefits for our network partners and, last but not least, continuing to pursue the realisation of Time Machine’s strategic aims in terms of long-term funding.

The TMO’s Executive Board was appointed during its first general assembly at the Time Machine 2019 conference in Dresden, and the first staff members in charge of day-to-day operations were confirmed at the extraordinary general assembly in Brussels on February 17th. In addition, the new office headquarters in Vienna will be up and running as of March 1st. Within the next weeks, a Local Time Machine Manager will be appointed by the University of Amsterdam and a Business Development Manager by the University of Jena. Finally, an Executive Director will be appointed in fall 2020, with the Programme Manager fulfilling tasks as needed in the interim.

Together, the Programme Manager, the Business Development Manager, the Chief Technical Officer, the Chief Communications Officer, the Local Time Machine Manager and the Administration Officer will ensure a smooth transition from Time Machine CSA to TMO functions.

Community Building and Expansion

Throughout the 12-month CSA project, a vast range of professional communities have been involved in creating roadmaps to achieve Time Machine’s vision and goals. It is vital for the success of the Time Machine going forward to not only keep this community active and engaged but to further enhance cooperation and to expand the network to create an ever more powerful voice for Cultural Heritage initiatives. To this end, the Communications Department of the TMO will nurture and support communication channels and tools (public newsletter, regular internal TMO network updates, publications, communication service kits and hubs, cooperation with media, etc.). The Infrastructure Department will ensure the setup of reliable communication and IT infrastructures and provide Local Time Machines with needed infrastructure support.

To further support the building and expansion of the Time Machine community, regular events such as national Time Machine Info Days, regular network meetings (Local Time Machines, Time Machine Ambassadors, work groups etc.), recurrent TMO general assemblies and an annual Time Machine conference will be organised.

Time Machine Project Scouting Service

The Time Machine Project Scouting Service is currently under formation to support Time Machine members in the process of forming project consortia and submitting project proposals under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. The TM Project Scouting Service will offer pre-proposal, proposal and networking support services to fortify members of the TMO consortia’s chances of success in receiving project funding. Key benefits for TMO members will be for example:

  • Information and consultancy concerning relevant third-party funding schemes
  • Support to find matching partners for project consortia
  • Consultancy and services for proposal preparation

The TM Project Scouting Service is currently in a testing phase and is proposed to become operational in May 2020. A complete list of services and conditions will be published at the Time Machine website soon.

Striving for Large-Scale Funding

Regardless of whether towards achieving short, medium or long-term objectives, it is of course critical to achieving Time Machine’s vision that we continue to strive towards obtaining large-scale funding. Therefore, the TMO will continue campaigning for the realisation of the Time Machine LSRI on national and EU level by continuously evaluating all possible funding scenarios and keeping close track of all large-scale funding opportunities at an EU level. A very important and well-established support network in this endeavour is our Time Machine Ambassador network – volunteer experts spread across Europe who are eager to support the Time Machine vision and have the capacity to reach out to and inform a variety of national and international communities.

Finally, it’s also important to note that the continued cooperation with Time Machine’s professional network of communities is not the only pivotal factor to success in this area. The continued growth of Local Time Machines will be critical and will serve to verify the importance of achieving the Time Machine LSRI’s goals and boosting Europe’s cultural heritage sector significantly.

Photos from the Time Machine CSA Final Conference

Venue: Bibliothèque Solvay, Brussels
(Click on the image to enlarge and browse the album)

© Willem van Puyenbroeck