Eastern Mediterranean Science and Technology Centre for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage MedSTACH

Project MedSTACH aims to establish Cyprus as an excellence hub in archaeology and cultural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean region, capitalising on multidisciplinary research and technological innovation. To this end, key Cypriot public academic institutions and national policy makers and stakeholders are teaming up with leading international research and academic institutions to lay the groundwork towards creating the Eastern Mediterranean Science and Technology Centre for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (acronym MedSTACH).

The mission of MedSTACH is the development of the necessary scientific and technological environment for the advancement of the state-of-the-art in archaeology and cultural heritage research in Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and beyond; this will be accomplished by strengthening regional well-springs of scientific and technological expertise, capacity for innovation, and synergies among related Science, Engineering and Technology disciplines. The Centre’s mission is fully aligned with the Smart Specialisation Strategy for Cyprus, as it responds to the need for the study, protection, promotion and ultimately valorisation of Cyprus’s unique archaeological wealth, as well as the promotion of alternative forms of thematic (cultural heritage) tourism. MedSTACH, a first-ever established alliance of this scale in Cyprus for archaeology and cultural heritage, is expected to dynamically promote excellence in relevant research fields and to enhance Cyprus’s role as a pole of attraction for scientists and researchers from the Eastern Mediterranean region and the rest of the world, while promoting in a sustainable way smart specialisation and new job creation.

The MedSTACH consortium is coordinated by the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics of the Cyprus University of Technology (lead partner), and includes as partners the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus — the national stakeholder and policy maker responsible for cultural heritage management on the island, and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation — the national stakeholder an policy maker responsible for the promotion of Cyprus’s touristic product. The consortium also includes the Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-environment of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), and the Institute of Archaeology of the University College London (UCL), both of which convey the experience and expertise of leading international research and academic institutions.

The MedSTACH proposal was ranked 1st (attaining full marks 15/15, “Excellent”) on a pan-European scale, among 208 proposals submitted to Programme “Teaming for Excellence” Phase 1, part of European Union’s (EU) Horizon 2020 framework for Research and Innovation. Programme “Teaming for Excellence” (Teaming) aims at connecting, via the creation of new or the major upgrade of existing Centers of Excellence, renowned research institutions from countries with a strong tradition in Research and Innovation with institutions from countries with developing research activity, so that the latter countries become more competitive in securing research funds. The MedSTACH proposal was awarded 0.4 million euros for a period of one year (Phase 1 of the Programme) in order to develop a business plan for the MedSTACH Centre of Excellence. That business plan will be submitted for evaluation to the EU during Phase 2 of the Teaming Programme, seeking funding of 15 million euros for a period of 5-7 years, with the possibility of an additional equal amount of national co-funding for a period of 15 years.

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