The CNR – INNOVA Regional Centre of Competence for Development and Transfer of Innovation for Cultural and Environmental Heritage was established on 14 February 2003 to supply technological support and consultancy both to institutions conserving and managing the cultural heritage and to firms involved in heritage conservation, promotion and use.

This aim is pursued through innovation by developing original methods of enquiry and adapting consolidated technology, focusing especially on the non-invasiveness and portability of the techniques proposed, matching sector demand with its techno-scientific skills and infrastructures that are continually undergoing further development.

Participants at the Centre come from all the universities in the region of Campania, from five National Research Council institutes, to which INNOVA is also responsible, the two science parks in the region and the European University Centre for Cultural Heritage (CUEBC). In all, approximately 300 university lecturers and researchers are involved in projects at the Centre.

Thematic Areas at the Centre of Competence


The Diagnostics Division, providing necessary back-up for restoration and conservation activities, focuses on developing and applying methods and techniques to locate finds as well as analyse and monitor their chemical, physical, geophysical, geological and palaeontological characteristics for the conservation of the cultural heritage.

The Diagnostics Division undertakes activities in 4 sectors, including:

Multithematic diagnostic surveys and techniques for cultural heritage restoration and conservation with a view to developing indispensable procedures, technologies and solutions to ensure that interventions are able to prolong the conservation of cultural assets. This objective is pursued by means of a preventive in-depth analysis of works to be protected, of constituent materials, their state of conservation and the causes that led to their degradation.

About 30 researchers work in this operative unit, belonging to Earth Science Departments, Land Use Planning and Sciences, History of Architecture and Restoration of Naples University and the Department of Civil Engineering of Salerno University.

Conservation and Renewal Division

The activities of this division are designed to survey buildings and land use systems, and are carried out by developing methods and tools for studying the built environment and its natural context. They are split into three sectors. These include:

  1. Safety, Conservation and Renewal of the built environment. This sector develops awareness of the built heritage as a material historical document and proposes sound conservation and maintenance activities. The study of vulnerability, whether caused naturally or by man, leads to methods for prevention, conservation and renewal with planned maintenance protocols; plant engineering techniques are studied and applied to maintain microclimatic parameters as well as new natural and artificial lighting techniques to optimise conservation and proper use, partly in the context of defining guidelines for a pilot project of archaeological museums.

About 30 researchers work in this operative unit, belonging to the Interdepartmental Centre for Cultural Heritage (CiBec) of Naples University.

  1. Knowledge and renewal applied in integrated fashion to architectural and environmental components to reconstruct interactions between the physical constituents of ancient and present-day environments with the siting and development of settlements. The aim is to assess the possibility of land restoration, considered as an integration of natural, archaeological and architectural aspects, with a view to promotion and protection for sustainable use by the public.

This operative unit has about 40 researchers, experts in the sectors of archaeology, architecture, botany, engineering, mathematics, earth sciences, zoology and history, belonging to the Interdepartmental Centre for Cultural Heritage (CiBec) and the Departments of Earth Sciences and Plant Biology of Naples University.

Promotion and Use Division

Research and Development in this division focus on testing in the field the possibility of combining various IT methods and techniques within the complex scenario of promoting the cultural identity of a geographical area. The methods and techniques developed and used concern several encoding systems and are organised on several levels of representation to ensure both their integration and the development of several access modes.

Technology Transfer Division

This division is the interface between INNOVA, public institutions and the industrial world. INNOVA thus makes available, by means of technology transfer management (TT), the results of research undertaken in-house. This ensures the supply of innovations in terms of process, product and organisation.

Previous and current joint projects

INNOVA has pursued the aim of creating effective relations with other regional actors and with the system of innovation: many projects have either been presented or are in the specification phase.

INNOVA has stipulated agreements and conventions with authorities and enterprises, both at a regional and national level, committed to protecting and enhancing the area, the environment and cultural heritage, as well as to technology transfer. The many competences developed within the network of INNOVA researchers has also made it possible to present projects in the following fields: training, local systems support for tourism and culture, use of cultural heritage, and environmental and cultural resources management.


CNR-CRdC INNOVA contributes to the technological enhancement of heritage by supplying laboratory and consultancy services with high value added, which are innovative and integrate technology and skills in different scientific sectors.

The services supplied by INNOVA allow users to receive rapid responses from only one interlocutor that take account of all aspects involved in the problems.

The highly integrated and multidisciplinary nature of its skills and technologies constitute the main value added of INNOVA’s integrated services.

From an analysis of the demand for services in the cultural heritage sector, the suite of services offered by CNR-CRdC INNOVA is grouped within 7 integrated services, designed to meet the complex demand of institutions, firms and professionals working in the sector of cultural and environmental heritage.

INNOVA’s seven integrated services

  • Environment and archaeology
  • The built environment and architecture
  • Conservation, restoration and promotion ancient and historic finds
  • Plant engineering, organisation and management of museum structures
  • Application of new information technology and communications to cultural heritage
  • Land use management
  • Innovation diffusion and integration