Background Research

Thin Banner new2To enable evidence based discussions at the Forum, the consortium has launched a series of studies and surveys to gather data concerning research trends and strategy development; dissemination and access to information; education and training; and the practical impacts of science within conservation.

Review of Conservation Literature
Between February and September 2013 a literature survey was undertaken by ICCROM, in collaboration with the Forum Consortium of Partners, as part of the preparation for the ICCROM Forum 2013 on Conservation Science.  The purpose of this survey was to gain an overview of the main trends in the cultural heritage conservation literature over the past 20 years, and also to highlight the dissemination pathways for conservation science findings.  The survey focused on 15 well established generalist conservation publications in four different languages, which together could be considered a representative corpus of conservation literature.  These comprised: 2 periodicals and 2 conference proceedings in English, 4 periodicals in French, 3 periodicals in German, 1 periodical in English/German, and 3 periodicals in Spanish.  The English publications were selected on the basis of their international readership, and were studied over a 20 year time span (1992-2012); all others were studied over a 5 year time span (2008-2012).  In total 3367 conservation articles were analysed and categorised.

Review of Strategic Documents
There have been a number of strategic reviews for conservation science undertaken in past years, such as those undertaken at national level in the UK, USA, and Spain, and also at regional level within Europe.  The Consortium commissioned a study which included the collection and review of over 40 strategic documents in terms of their purpose; audiences; methodologies used; criteria considered; and findings.  The aim is to provide a synthesis and orientations for future needs assessments and strategy development.

Survey of Organizations Involved in Conservation Science
Early in 2013 ICCROM worked together with a small working group of partner institutions to develop and implement a survey of the consortium partners, in the form of a questionnaire.  The purpose of this was to collect data concerning conservation science activities in the partner institutions of the forum consortium, with regard to the structure; personnel; decision making; focus; resource allocation; and outcomes of these activities.  Based on the results, we revised the questionnaire and extended the survey to 120 Cultural Heritage Institutions in 61 countries (40% response rate in 2 weeks).

Survey of Conservation Education Programmes
In recent years there have been significant developments in the entry pathways for future conservation scientists, as evidenced through the growth of training programs in conservation science.  At the same time, most material conservation training programmes include a component of basic science training for non scientists.  A flash survey was sent to more than 120 education institutions and programmes in 65 countries (more than 50% response rate in 2 weeks) to gain an overview of the existing programmes, the characteristics and evolution of student intake, the current possibilities of training paths for conservation science and future needs.

Survey of Job Ads for Conservation Science
As a support to the discussion on Education paths for conservation scientists and education strategies for science communication, in September 2013, ICCROM undertook a survey of job ads for positions in conservation science posted in the last 5 years. The purpose of this survey was to gain an overview of the labor market within the field and requisites for the job. Job ads published from 2008 up until today were collected. 89 ads in total were studied and categorized according to the following questions: Who seeks for conservation scientists, for what purposes and where in the world? What academic qualifications and experience are expected?

Survey of Conservation Professionals
To support the examination of the relevance and impact of science to current practice in the field of cultural heritage conservation, it was proposed to poll the collective experiences and opinion of a broad range of conservation professionals (both scientific and non scientific).  To this end, a Flash Survey was launched to gather data about how conservation practitioners access and make use of scientific information and services.  The survey was posted on ICCROM website and disseminated also thanks to the collaboration of  IIC, ICOM-CC, and ECCO. In 20 days, over 1200 professionals responded.

Further information on the planning of the Forum
Brainstorm meeting on conservation science (March 2012)
Brainstorm meeting report (pdf)
Planning meeting for the ICCROM Forum on Conservation Science (November 2012)

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