The creation of the International Institute for Rivers and Cultural Heritage

Published on 26 April 2004 - Updated 22 December 2010
Cet article date d'il y a plus de 18 ans

The creation of the International Institute for Rivers and Cultural Heritage under the aegis of UNESCO is the result of consultations which have been ongoing since 2001. There are two dimensions to the Institute, one local and the other global.

The aim of the International Institute for Rivers and Cultural Heritage, set up under UNESCO, is to mobilise the research and training potential of the universities in the Val de Loire and the training and/or research and engineering establishments located within the World Heritage site or surrounding area. Its aim is to participate in the worldwide effort to protect, manage and develop the natural and cultural heritage of our river corridors.
Within this general framework, the Institute has identified four key aims:
  • Identify and establish specific initial and ongoing training courses
  • Set up engineering and research projects, notably to benefit developing countries
  • Encourage and support academic or applied research
  • Develop and fund research works
Mission and activities
Fund, disseminate and  promote research and projects
The mission of the Institute is to fund, disseminate and promote research and projects. It aims to ensure widespread dissemination of existing research works, projects, practices and usage in order to promote their development and access to them.
Some of its key activities are to:
  • Publish and disseminate existing research works
  • Identify and develop innovative research, training and projects
  • Organise events aimed at specialists and non-specialised target groups involved in activities related to conservation and safeguarding cultural heritage
Encourage and develop research and project management
The Institute actively supports projects aimed at managing cultural heritage through three types of activities:
  • Encouraging exchange programmes by granting international bursaries. Young researchers from other countries will be welcomed to France and young French researchers will be encouraged to pursue their work abroad. The best pieces of work will be awarded prizes and published.
  • Offering resident posts to lecturers and researchers from other countries who are involved in supervising research and who can give classes and lectures as well as carrying out research.
  • Assistance in setting up two types of projects:
    • Projects in developing countries
    • Transnational and multidisciplinary research projects.
Be a focal point for scientific and technical skills
The Institute will be a focal point for skills drawn from:
  • numerous teams of scientists attached to higher education and research establishments
  • engineering departments of public and private industrial organisations
  • technical departments in local government authorities
  • various specialist associations.
Its aim is to support the development of basic or applied studies in the following areas:
  • risk management
  • navigability, river ecology
  • pollution
  • conservation of water biodiversity
  • water resources
  • archaeological and ethnographic research
  • agronomy
  • planning
  • amenity provision
  • industrial archaeology
  • development
  • promotion and management of cultural heritage
  • tourism development 
A new kind of training
These training programmes, offered in the form of specific courses, are scheduled to be in place at the start of the 2005 academic year.
The Institute is offering a selection of high level courses (Masters, PhD) created by its partner institutions. Qualifications are awarded by the university members of the partnership.  Places will be awarded to students who have already taken a first degree or masters. They are particularly well suited to international researchers who wish to be trained in the areas covered by the Rivers and Cultural Heritage initiative: 
  • Understanding environments and landscapes
  • Conservation, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage
  • Management and development of tourism, culture and the local economy
These courses are open to students wanting to pursue both initial and ongoing training.
Courses are offered in the following sectors:
  • Functioning and engineering of river systems
  • Ecology of fresh water environments – biodiversity management
  • Development and management of natural areas
  • Local management of heritage sites
  • Developing the tourism potential of cultural heritage
Each of the specialisms within the themes will be offered in one or more of the 4 university towns along the Loire valley.
The launch of the International Institute for Rivers and Cultural Heritage is scheduled for 2005.
Training courses will be offered from the start of the 2005 academic year.
The Institute's main partners are as follows:

Pays de la Loire region


University of Nantes

University of Angers

Western Catholic University in Angers

University of Tours

University of Orléans

University of Orléans
University of Tours
University of Angers
Western Catholic University in Angers
University of Nantes Action priorities


© David Darrault


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