The Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change


The Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI CH) was created in 2010 based on an instrument launched by the European Commission. It is a Member-State-driven initiative bringing together national research funding organisations, ministries, and research councils from Europe to address societal challenges in the European Research Area (ERA) frame.

Cultural heritage is an essential component of individual and collective identity, both tangible and intangible. It brings societies together by reflecting and shaping common values, beliefs, traditions, and ways of living. Individually, it enables people to define a sense of identity and belonging. Cultural Heritage is composed of:

Tangible heritage: includes artefacts (for example, archaeological finds, objects, paintings), buildings, structures, landscapes, cities and towns including industrial, underwater and archaeological sites. It includes their location, relation to the natural environment and the materials from which all these are made, from prehistoric rock to cutting edge plastics and electronic products.

Intangible heritage: encompasses the social and festive practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and know-how that communities, groups, and individuals create, use and transmit from generation to generation. It stimulates spontaneous and participatory initiatives in inventorying, education and safeguarding and demonstrates the contribution of intangible practices to the challenges of contemporary societies (sustainable development, social cohesion or cultural diversity).

Digital heritage: includes texts, databases, still and moving images, audio, graphics, software and web pages. Some of this digital heritage is created from the scanning or converting of physical objects that already exist, and some are created digitally, or born-digital.

Natural heritage, which is defined by UNESCO as ‘natural features, geological and physiographical formations and delineated areas that constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants and natural sites of value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty. It includes private and publically protected such as natural areas, zoos, aquaria and botanical gardens, natural habitat, marine ecosystems, sanctuaries or reservoirs’.


Apart from natural ageing, cultural heritage is exposed to many threats. Climate change and pollution, increasing urbanisation, mass tourism, human negligence, vandalism and even terrorism are challenging heritage assets worldwide. Research into strategies, methodologies and tools is required to protect, strengthen, and adapt cultural heritage to these threats in the most sustainable way.

To address these challenges, the JPI CH focuses on five main objectives:

  • Improve the coordination of research on Cultural Heritage at the EU level by identifying short and long-term needs and priorities.
  • Concentrate and increase human, material and financial resources allocated to Cultural Heritage research at the European level.
  • Promote joint and multidisciplinary approaches to Cultural Heritage research and improve knowledge.
  • Increase awareness of citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders.
  • Build a European Research Area (ERA) to Cultural Heritage Research and bring it to the international level.

The JPI CH implements various activities. It publishes strategic research agendas, organises joint calls for research and innovations projects, scientific and policy conferences, workshops, dissemination activities, coordinates policy alignment between JPI CH partners, or establishes relationships with other regional, European and international networks, programmes and initiatives.

The JPI CH has also been a driving force in creating a new field of science: heritage science. The E-RHIS consortium defines heritage science as  ‘the interdisciplinary domain of scientific study of heritage. Heritage science draws on diverse humanities, sciences and engineering disciplines. It focuses on enhancing the understanding, care and sustainable use of heritage so it can enrich people’s lives, both today and in the future. Heritage science is an umbrella term encompassing all forms of scientific enquiry into human works and the combined works of nature and humans, of value to people.’


For more information, please visit the JPI CH source page.

  • other
Geographical focus
  • Europe
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Humanities

Entry created by Admin on February 28, 2023
Modified on March 20, 2023