E-RIHS, European Reasearch Infrastructure for Heritage Science

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E-RIHS, European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science, is the European research infrastructure for heritage science that offers public and private researchers and professionals, access to the most advanced techniques for studying cultural heritage in order to expand and improve the interpretation, valorisation and conservation, in an interdisciplinary context where natural sciences and humanities complement each other.

E-RIHS has developed over time thanks to more than twenty years of experience based on projects financed by the European framework programmes for research and innovation, and coordinated by Italy, with the leading role of the National Research Council (CNR), and the participation of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD), Italian universities (Florence, Bologna and Perugia) and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN).

Currently, E-RIHS features 140 facilities and laboratories spread across Europe, accessible and organized into four integrated platforms:

  1. ARCHLAB, with its physical and digital archives of samples, reference materials, restoration reports;
  2. FIXLAB, which includes large-scale facilities, synchrotrons, particle accelerators, neutron laboratories for the study of mobile works of art or samples;
  3. MOLAB, consisting of mobile instruments travelling to museums and archaeological sites for the study of unmovable objects through non-invasive multi-diagnostic in situ techniques;
  4. DIGILAB, with online access to digital data generated by ARCHLAB, FIXLAB and MOLAB integrated with digital tools for the creation of new knowledge.

E-RIHS is now fulfilling its ambitious goal of establishing a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), an international organization with legal personality, whose fourteen potential founding members are States, inside and outside the European Union, and the intergovernmental organization ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property). With the establishment of the ERIC, E-RIHS will strengthen over time its distributed structure, connecting European and international excellence in cultural heritage.

Thanks to the support of the Fondazione CR Firenze and the role of the National Research Council which leads E-RIHS at European and national level, the E-RIHS ERIC headquarters is hosted in Italy, in Florence, at Manifattura Tabacchi.

This headquarters is the driving force behind the interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research activities of E-RIHS. It plays a central role in coordinating access to cutting-edge laboratories throughout Europe, promoting advanced training for students, scholars, and professionals, as well as fostering internationalization and engaging with the local community.