EPISCON - European Ph.D. in Science for Conservation

The conservation and preservation of cultural heritage is an interdisciplinary field requiring close cooperation between conservator-restorers, archaeologists, (art) historians, collection managers and museum curators on the one hand, and conservation scientists on the other. While the natural sciences, as well as engineering, play a critical role in the proper selection of conservation materials, methods and strategies, scientific research in conservation is often conducted by scientists who originally come from outside the cultural heritage field. These scientists thus lack the affinity with the cultural heritage and conservation fields necessary to fully understand and communicate the significance, but also the consequences of their work, to non-technical colleagues.

In order to promote the synergy between the cultural heritage field, and the natural sciences and engineering, the European Community's Marie Curie programme is funding the project EPISCON - European Ph.D. in Science for Conservation. The goal of EPISCON is to develop the first generation of "true" conservation scientists in Europe. This goal will be attained by providing education, training, and research opportunities in the field of science for the conservation of cultural heritage to young scientists.

To that end, 16 three-year fellowships are being offered by ten EPISCON partners’ host institutions within the European Community. These fellowships include funding of an intensive six month training at the University of Bologna-Ravenna Campus (ITALY) in all aspects of the conservation of cultural heritage, followed by a two and a half year research project at one of the host institutions. The quality of the training will be recognised by the participating countries and an attempt will also be made to formally recognise the PhD by partner Universities.