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New CRP: Development and Implementation of Cultural Heritage Preservation using Ionizing Radiation Technology (F22082)

New Coordinated Research Project
Saint Martin’s chapel in Croatia was restored with expertise from Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI), using ionizing radiation. (Photo: B.Mihaljević/RBI)

Saint Martin’s chapel in Croatia was restored with expertise from Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI), using ionizing radiation. (Photo: B.Mihaljević/RBI)

The IAEA is calling on interested organizations to join its new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on development and improvement of good practice procedures of cultural heritage preservation using ionizing radiation.

The preservation of cultural heritage is a key aspect of maintaining national identity and understanding the exchanges among civilizations throughout history. It also plays an important role in maintaining cultural diversity in today’s era of globalization.

However, cultural heritage artefacts based on paper, textiles or wood, when stored under improper conservation conditions, are prone to biological attack. Degradation by insects and microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria constitute a major threat against their long term preservation.

Applications of ionizing radiation for the disinfection of cultural heritage artefacts have been successfully demonstrated in recent years with participation of museums and libraries. This environmentally friendly technology ensures the integrity and the preservation of the artefacts. The wider use of this technique still requires convincing stakeholders that irradiation does not lead to unacceptable changes in the functional or decorative properties of the artefact and that its authenticity is not compromised.

Recognizing this important need, the IAEA’s new, five-year CRP will focus on developing and improving good practice procedures using ionizing radiation. It is aimed at providing appropriate procedures and technical requirements, including optimal radiation doses for the radiation treatment of cultural heritage artefacts, and scientific data on the effect of ionizing radiation on different materials of such artefacts.

CRP objectives

The overall objective of the CRP is to extend the outreach of radiation technology to end-users and conservators in cultural heritage preservation and to improve the inter-institutional collaborations by developing of good practice procedures.

Specific objectives of the CRP are:

  1. To research on the effect of irradiation on the functional properties of different materials
  2. To develop inter-laboratory collaboration of results obtained in the radiation treatments of cultural heritage artefacts using different techniques and numerical simulation
  3. To establish appropriate procedures for irradiation of cultural heritage artefacts to predict dose uniformity during the irradiation process
  4. To develop new materials with enhanced compatibility with cultural heritage artefacts to consolidation considering the ethics on conservation

How to join the CRP:

Research organizations interested in joining the CRP must submit their Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement by email, no later than 1 December 2022, to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the appropriate template on the CRA website. The IAEA encourages institutes to involve, to the extent possible, female researchers and young researchers in their proposals.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page.

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