Our ultimate vision is to develop a research group capable to use a MIT disciplinary approach, integrating Genetics with the Sciences of the Past as a powerful innovation force to enhance resolving contemporary issues. We identified four specific objectives as the first steps toward the realisation of our vision.
Objective one (OBJ1)
Objective one (OBJ1) is to establish and integrate the existing MIT disciplinary scientific research community in Croatia related to the Sciences of the Past under the umbrella of the Croatian Eastern-Adriatic Multi-, inter- and trans- disciplinary Archaeology Initiative (CrEAMA Initiative). This will be accomplished through partnership with two leading institutions of EU15 countries, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (UK) and University of Pisa, Pisa (Italy), that display proven success in archaeology and genetics, a prestigious scientific reputation and efficient management structure at both University and Departmental/Institute level.
Objective two (OBJ2)
Objective two (OBJ2) is to upgrade and intensify scientific research of Croatian Scientists involved in the CrEAMA Initiative by utilising recent methodological achievements in Genetics and Biology [Next-generation Sequencing (NGS), DNA refinement of ancient materials, Geometric morphometrics, Bioinformatics,…].
Thus, for example NGS methods have increased capabilities far beyond that of traditional Sanger sequencing, allowing millions of bases to be sequenced in a short time. Since then, our knowledge of genomics has grown exponentially, while the costs and capabilities of these technologies continue to improve, allowing us to analyse huge data sets and, consequently, to tackle fundamentals of life, fitness, health and disease. It is interesting to point that costs of genome sequencing are decreasing even faster than computing costs (http://www.economist.com/node/16349358; “according to Moore’s law computers double in power roughly every two years”).
Objective three (OBJ3)
Objective three (OBJ3) is to foster integration of the CrEAMA Initiative into the European Research Area (ERA) by intensifying scientific communications (invited seminars, workshops), visibility (published gold open-access papers, conferences, creation of interesting and educational web content) and collaborations (field summer schools, joint papers) ending with submission of grant applications, as is H2020, to fund large-scale international projects.
Objective four (OBJ4)
Objective four (OBJ4) is to commercialise and integrate the CrEAMA Initiative research with the needs of society (local community) at the level of local (Korčula Island, Zagreb), regional (Dalmatia, Zagreb area), national (Croatia), European (web) and global (web) level. According to the Ministry of Economy (http://www.mingo.hr/page/kategorija/programi-i-projekti-eu) tourism is one of the three horizontal themes that are important and need to be implemented in the smart specialisation strategy of Croatia.
By providing access to the scientific and administrative expertise and experience, both Italy (Pisa) and the UK (Cambridge), as partners in this Twinning exercise, will enable scientists at the host institution (Zagreb) to increase their capacity to obtain national, European and international (global) funding for research in a region which has much to offer to both the archaeological and scientific world in general.
The potential cultural heritage of the region is enormous, ranging through the full spectrum of human occupation from the Palaeolithic to present day. The scientific potential of such material can only be reached through the use of techniques and methodologies in which the partner organisations have great expertise.