Ljubljana university on track to establish GreenHer Centre of Excellence

Ljubljana, 25 October - The University of Ljubljana is on track to secure a EUR 30 million investment in heritage science. In the first stage of the evaluation process, the EU has cleared the project to establish a new centre of excellence where an interdisciplinary community of researchers will develop know-how in the understanding and management of cultural heritage.

Green Heritage Science (GreenHer) Centre of Excellence aims to integrate the principles of sustainable development and sustainable tourism in its activities, said the head of the GreenHer centre development project Matija Strlič from the University of Ljubljana.

Funds from the six-year project will be allocated towards research, the development of human resources, and most importantly towards setting up new laboratories and equipment, he told the STA.

Headquartered at the university, the centre will bring together research teams from six major partners in heritage science from across Slovenia as varied skillsets and expertise are required for the project to succeed.

Along with the three public universities and their entities (the University of Primorska, the University of Maribor, and the Ljubljana University's Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Faculty of Arts, and the Biotechnical Faculty), the project partners include the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute, and the National and University Library.

There are no comparable knowledge centres in Europe, with the exception of the UK's Institute for Sustainable Heritage at the University College London, which is participating as an advanced partner in the project together with the Institute of Heritage Science at Italy's National Research Council.

The role of the two advanced partners is to contribute their expertise and experience to the overall success of the project.

"With this project, we have successfully passed the first phase of the evaluation, which means the European community has recognised a certain existing excellence in this kind of interdisciplinary research in Slovenia and wants to support such extremely intensive interdisciplinary research as will be supported by our centre of excellence," Strlič said.

Some 40 projects from Central and Eastern Europe will enter the second and final stage of the evaluation process with Strlič remaining very optimistic because the GreenHer Centre of Excellence is the only project of this kind in the region. The EU supports the development of top-notch science in Central and Eastern Europe through the Widening Project.

The centre of excellence will support heritage science research through seven pilot projects dealing with topics such as development of new sustainable materials and methods for conservation and restoration as well as new procedures for the display of heritage, for example by creating relevant digital content, and boosting cooperation with local communities and individuals through citizen science.