Science and Heritage Programme
Public benefit, cultural & economic impact & growth prospects of heritage science research: Creating a Heritage Science Innovation Systems Framework
In December 2014, Professor May Cassar, Director of the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme was awarded funding to undertake an Impact Fellowship. The Impact Fellowship, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and supported by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), is exploring the dissemination of research activities supported by the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme. The Fellowship has a particular focus on developing the relationship between heritage science researchers and industry in order to promote the adoption of heritage science innovation.
The Fellowship will run from December 2014 to June 2016 and all project outputs, including the Fellow's final report will be available on the website.
Summary of the Impact Fellowship
Heritage science" refers to the "fascinating, rich and diverse range of scientific challenges" associated with conserving
movable and immovable heritage. Its significance should not be underestimated. Heritage, through tourism, makes a
substantial contribution to the economy (£7.4 billion a year), and the sustainability of that contribution depends on heritage
science. In November 2006, we published a report entitled Science and Heritage in which we acknowledged that the UK
had a high reputation in the field of heritage science but warned that UK standing was "under threat" and that the heritage
science sector was "fragmented and under-valued". (House of Lords Science and Technology Committee (2012). Science
and Heritage: A follow-up. London: HMSO p4).
In 2007, on the recommendations of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the Arts and Humanities
Research Council (AHRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) launched the Science
and Heritage Programme to fund research activities to deepen understanding and widen participation in heritage science.
During the following 7 years, this £8.1 million multi-disciplinary, collaborative Programme has funded 48 projects involving
more than 300 researchers, 234 institutions and 50 industry partners both in the UK and overseas.
The purpose of this Impact Fellowship proposal is to strengthen the dissemination of research activities supported by the
Science and Heritage Programme, with a particular focus on developing the relationship between heritage science
researchers and industry in order to promote heritage science innovation and to inform policymakers of the value of
heritage science to culture and the economy.
For heritage science researchers to fully contribute to public benefit and economic growth a shift in attitude by both
researchers and industry has to take place to create stronger strategic links and to exploit opportunities which anecdotal
evidence suggests there are industry sectors that could benefit from heritage science research and innovation. Currently,the heritage tourism industry is the best understood industry utilising heritage science research and this will be considered
alongside other business sectors such as construction and property development; creative media; insurance; forensics and
security and sensors and instrumentation.
Through a series of workshops, face-to-face interviews and data collection and analysis, the Fellowship will identify the
benefits, impacts and growth opportunities produced by heritage science research and innovation, along with the research
projects that have contributed wider benefits to policy, industry and the heritage sector and the industry sectors that utilise,
or could utilise heritage science research. By examining industry needs, the skills and training required by future heritage
scientists to engage with industry can be identified and evidence can be provided to produce recommendations on how
policy could support the development of an innovation systems framework for heritage science. This will in turn be used to
promote an innovation culture among researchers and industry willing to explore the business potential of research outputs.
The research will be underpinned by a number of leadership development activities including publishing commissioned
articles for Research Fortnight and Research Professional.
Key outputs from the research have been published on the Impact Fellowship website