St Petersburg University hosted a meeting of the working group with the participation of representatives of the State Russian Museum and the French Academy of Sciences.
During the negotiations, they discussed cooperation within the framework of the implementation of the memorandum on cooperation between the LRMH (Laboratoire de recherche des monuments historiques), the Foundation of the Sciences and Cultural Heritage, St Petersburg University, and the State Russian Museum. The memorandum was signed in December 2018. Catherine Bréchignac, secrétaire perpétuel honoraire of the French Academy of Sciences and French Ambassador for Science, Technology and Innovation, noted that the inclusion of a new party in the memorandum will strengthen the interaction between all participants. She suggested therefore considering the possibility of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Science joining the work.
The French side has scheduled the presentation of the mobile laboratory for this October. It will be held in two cities – St Petersburg and Veliky Novgorod. The State Russian Museum is currently working on the selection of exhibits to demonstrate the capabilities of the mobile laboratory. At present, only works of icon painting are included in the list. Ilia Antipov, Associate Professor of the Department of the History of Russian Art, St Petersburg University, said that the research in Novgorod can focus on architectural ceramics and fragments of frescoes.
The working group discussed the possibility of applying for international grants. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation has announced a competition ‘Megagrants’, and the participants in the memorandum can apply for this competition. The project manager can be a foreign or Russian leading scientist who has established him/herself as a leading expert in a particular field of science. Elena Lebedeva, Interim Head of the Research Support Service of St Petersburg University, noted that the University is ready to provide a visiting scientist with all the necessary conditions for working and creating the laboratory. In turn, Catherine Bréchignac promised that she will help to attract one of the leading French scientists to participate in the megagrant competition.
The issue of joint participation in international conferences was also raised during the meeting. The working group members suggested an international research conference on research methods and preservation of cultural heritage under the auspices of the Trianon Dialogue. It would be held at St Petersburg University in 2020.