There is an urgent need to integrate the most current issues in the construction of knowledge into research on ancient materials: the full recognition of the socio-economic sector as a key player in the system, the rise of digital technology, not only as a resource but as a point of view on materials, the development of portable and connected instrumentation, the new place of the issues of open science, the training of heritage research and by student heritage research. Achieving these transformations requires reflection on three boundaries at the heart of contemporary societal issues:

  • The boundary that separates nature and culture, questioned both by developments in the humanities and experimental sciences, and contemporary socio-environmental issues.
  • The boundary between the material and immaterial, profoundly transformed by the renewal of interdisciplinary methods, interpenetration of studies between practices and objects, and the digital revolution.
  • The boundary between the past and future, separated by the thin line that constitutes the present, where its uncertainties are largely linked to a troubled relationship with the past and the future, which allows a critical examination of the forms of transmission of heritage.

We propose to overcome these boundaries by making several major and structuring transitions:

  1. Create a new interface between research and socio-economic innovation. The Ile-de-France research network in the field of heritage systems is one of the main research fields connected to the socio-economic fabric. It is important to better identify it and increase its visibility: alongside industries structured around very large companies, there are design, living arts, museography, data visualisation, cultural and creative industries, industries for the creation of “paleo-inspired” materials, or expertise in heritage conservation-restoration
  2. Develop new classes of instruments. This will involve supporting the development of new physical, chemical or digital instruments specifically adapted to the field (field investigation and diagnosis tools, reference databases, preventive conservation tools, equipment dedicated to the protection of endangered heritage, etc.) and breakthrough equipment, which does not exist “off-the-shelf”, inspired by the needs in the field.
  3. Give a central place to digital tools. Today, modern analytical tools, by their rapid acquisition times, generate massive quantities of data, which complement those collected by the human and social sciences on heritage. To analyse, mathematics and the humanities must be called upon to develop models, classify and merge data. A major challenge is to build cross-references between quantitative and qualitative data.
  4. Organise communities based on research methods using open science practices. The key issue here is data documentation: what metadata matters? And in what contexts? To make what kinds of arguments? To answer which hypotheses? This will involve documenting the data to ensure its traceability, searchability and storage, and also, software storage in an accessible and/or permanent way, and integrating the reflection on formats and standards.

Methodological axes

The four methodological axes privilege the most innovative dimensions of contemporary research in instrumentation, digital technology, the study of heritage mechanisms and the study of alteration processes.

Heritage objects are often of complex and heterogeneous composition at all scales. This axis aims to support instrumental and experimental developments concerning the observation, identification and classification of materials by their physico-chemical properties (imaging and spectral imaging, dating, modeling of material properties…). These methods contribute to research on the processes [...]
This axis supports the study of material heritages through the development of original methods, both in mathematics and in information sciences. First, the aim is to make all  data, both qualitative and quantitative intelligible, to describe the complex systems studied: transformation and representation of data sets, in particular to propose [...]
The DIM funds initiatives that encourage the heritage science community to adopt an increasingly reflexive attitude toward its knowledge, practices, and instruments in order to develop, in contact with sociology, epistemology, anthropology, the history of collections, and restoration, the capacity to explain its results as the product of choices and [...]
The fate of an object, whatever its size (nanometric to monumental), its origin and its chemical nature (mineral, organic, metallic or hybrid) is to evolve irremediably with time and the environment that surrounds it. The DIM encourages strong interactions between the implementation of conservation-restoration processes and upstream research on the [...]

Thematic fields

The three thematic fields highlight the most significant fields of investigation at present: objects, their uses and circulation; the relationship between materiality, climate and environment; the articulation between creation, art and matter.

The objects, in the broadest sense, whether they come from art, craft or industry, provide the material for a cross-disciplinary approach, which makes it possible to specify the techniques and systems of production, to characterize quality of the materials, operating chains and gestures, modes of transmission of know-how and technical [...]
Fossils and rocks are an invaluable source of information on the history of life and the evolution of the Earth’s environments and climates over geological time. The geochemical, structural and isotopic signatures of ancient materials not only advance our understanding of the beginnings of life, mechanisms of species evolution and [...]
Thanks to recent material turned into art history, the historicity of the material of works of art is asserting itself as a field of investigation shared by historians, art historians, science historians, scientists and specialists in heritage objects (curators, restorers, experts). Such a multidisciplinary approach combines experiments and physico-chemical characterization [...]

Modes of operation

The DIM PAMIR sets up calls for projects that allow to finance:

  • doctoral and postdoctoral contracts (maximum 18 months), as well as internships
  • equipments
  • events of international scope and visiting scientists

The Steering Committee is considering the establishment of calls for projects entitled:

  • “Breakthrough instrumentation”, for the financing of highly technical engineers developing and putting into service particularly innovative scientific instruments
  • “Innovation and creation”, for the financing of innovative socio-economic support

Each call for proposals is the subject of a guideline text that specifies the scientific framework of the call, the project selection process, eligibility and evaluation criteria, submission procedures, funding provisions, procedures for awarding and paying the grant, procedures for monitoring the funded projects, and the components of the application.

Through its calls for projects, the DIM PAMIR aims to :

  • support innovative projects on emerging themes
  • promote interdisciplinarity
  • encourage collaborations between teams, and more particularly new collaborations
  • integrate socio-economic actors beyond the industry: cultural actors, professionnals, in particular conservation-restoration professionals, craftsmen