RICHeS - Research Infrastructure for Conservation and Heritage Science

The value of investment in heritage science research and innovation infrastructure is increasingly being recognised by research funders.

From 2022 to 2025, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) plans to invest a total of £481 million into a portfolio of research and innovation infrastructure investments to maintain the UK’s position as a research and innovation superpower.

This includes the recently announced £80 million investment  in RICHeS (Research Infrastructure for Conservation and Heritage Science). RICHeS will provide a network of facilities, collections and expertise in conservation and heritage science that will secure the UK's reputation for excellence in the field, further capability in the sector and promote collaboration at a national and international level.

Three funding calls opened on 10th July 2023:

Host facilities as part of our heritage science infrastructure

Host collections as part of our heritage science infrastructure

Develop Digital Research Services for Heritage Science Research

Find out more about the calls at the individual links above. Each strand is supported by a separate webinar which will provide further information about the funding opportunity and the chance to ask questions. See the Additional Info section of each funding call for the webinar dates and how to register to attend.

View the UKRI RICHeS web page.


RICHeS to be based at Daresbury Laboratory

Read the announcement about the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory as the host of the headquarters of this infrastructure which will consist of a network of facilities distributed across the UK.

RICHeS will create clusters of excellence, unlocking the potential for heritage assets to contribute to innovation in areas such as:

  • digital twins
  • artificial intelligence
  • robotics
  • bioimaging.


RICHeS announced as part of the Creative Industries Vision

AHRC will deliver the £80 million Research Infrastructure for Conservation and Heritage Science (RICHeS) programme which is funded by the UKRI Infrastructure Fund.

This investment will provide a UK-wide network of facilities and expertise in conservation and heritage science research. It will contribute to safeguarding cultural heritage assets for future generations, cutting-edge facilities will unlock the potential for innovation and the programme will increase the visibility of the UK's heritage science expertise and promote collaboration at national and international levels.

Read the Creative Industries Sector Vision.

Read the UKRI announcement.


Background information on RICHeS

The additional information below has not been produced by NHSF but is being made available through this website for the use of the wider heritage science community.

Call for Expressions of Interest in RICHeS (call now closed)

AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) is inviting expressions of interest in Research Infrastructure for Conservation and Heritage Science (RICHeS) funding.

Organisations across Conservation and Heritage Science, including but not limited to universities, galleries, libraries, and museums are encouraged to express interest, even if they are not usually eligible for direct UKRI funding. AHRC held a question & answer webinar on 14th July to address questions about this EoI invitation. A recording of the webinar is available on the UKRI website (Funding Finder) - see 'additional information' tab.

Expressions of interest at this stage are important in helping AHRC to secure the funding for this infrastructure investment programme, which aims to secure the UK’s reputation for excellence in heritage science and to further capability beyond the sector, unlocking opportunity for innovation.

Responding to the Expression of Interest questionnaire will help AHRC to understand the current landscape of heritage science research facilities (equipment and skills), the extent of scientific reference collections (e.g. samples, data) that could be made available for access, where there is potential to develop capability in heritage science, and understand existing connections within the community as well as the potential to form new partnerships. A response to the Expression of Interest (EoI) is not a commitment to participate in the infrastructure and organisations with any level of interest in participating in the future are strongly encouraged to contribute to the EoI at this stage. 

Expression of Interest in RICHeS: UKRI funding finder - RICHeS Expression of Interest (call closed 1st August 2022)

A 'worked example' of the questionnaire is available here in pdf format to show the questions asked in the survey: RICHeS EoI Questionnaire (pdf)

Background on the RICHeS consultations to 2021 is available here: Scoping a UK Heritage Science Infrastructure. Priorities, Risks and Values. A report to the Arts and Humanities Research Council

UKRI factsheets on research infrastructure are available here: UKRI infrastructure factsheets

UKRI research and innovation infrastructure: Landscape mapping (2019) and Opportunity report (2020)


For more information about the RICHeS announcement and other UKRI infrastructure fund projects, see the UKRI website.

The heritage science community, including NHSF, has contributed to consultations that shaped the AHRC plans for RICHeS. Membership of NHSF will not be a pre-condition for applying for RICHeS' support.


Information on other infrastructure initiatives is available here.


Box image: "microscope" by liverpoolhls is licensed under CC BY 2.0.