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Commission Creates a Centre for Digital Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and Launches Two Projects

Source: The European Commission

The European Commission announced that it launched a European competence centre aiming to preserve and conserve European Cultural Heritage. The centre, which has been granted up to €3 million from the Horizon 2020 programme, will work for a period of three years. The Commission reported that there will be a collaborative digital space for cultural heritage conservation and give access to repositories of data, metadata, standards and guidelines. The team of 19 beneficiaries coming from 11 EU Member States as well as Switzerland and Moldova is co-ordinated by Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy.

What is Horizon Europe? The Commission's proposal for Horizon Europe is the largest transnational programme ever supporting research and innovation. It is the new EU research and innovation programme will have a budget of around €95.5 billion for 2021-2027 (current prices). This includes €5.4 billion (current prices) from NextGenerationEU to boost the EU's recovery and make the bloc more resilient for the future, as well as an additional reinforcement of €4.5 billion (current prices). This represents a 30% increase vis-à-vis the current research and innovation programme, the previous programme Horizon 2020 (comparing Horizon Europe against Horizon 2020 for EU27, in constant prices) and makes it the most ambitious research and innovation programme in the world. Currently, under Horizon 2020, EU Member States as well as Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia and Armenia can benefit from the grants.

The political agreement on Horizon Europe was recently reached, in December 2020. The main work programme of Horizon Europe is planned to be adopted on April 2021. Therefore, there is still time for more details on this project and we will be keeping you updated on the calls for proposals and funding opportunities under Horizon Europe.

The Commission also presented two other projects to support digital education, worth up to €1 million each from the Horizon 2020 programme as well. MenSi, which is a project focusing on mentoring for school improvement, is the first project and it will be implemented until February 2023. The goal of this project is to mobilise 120 schools in 6 Member States (Belgium, Czechia, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Portugal) as well as the United Kingdom to advance whole-school digital innovation. The project will address the general challenge of mainstreaming ICT at an institutional level. We find this project beneficial as it particularly focuses on tackling the challenges faced by small or rural schools. Moreover, it is notable that the project aims to address school improvement for socially disadvantaged students or challenges associated with personalising learning.

The second project is called iHub4Schools, which will run until June 2023. This project, coordinated by Tallinn University in Estonia, has the goal to accelerate digital innovation by forming regional innovation hubs and a model for mentoring. The hubs will be established in 5 European countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, United Kingdom, Georgia) and 600 teachers in 75 schools will be participating it. Italy and Norway will also benefit from the mentoring scheme. We find this project valuable taking into consideration the necessity and importance of digital innovation as well as cooperation among Member States on this constantly evolving field.


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