We are pleased to share the first issue of the Digital Heritage Lab Newsletter (DHRLab). Since the establishment of the DHRLab in 2013, we have introduced a series of communication tools with the recent addition of the newsletter.

This first issue focuses exclusively on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on the 11th of February, implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women, in collaboration with institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science. This Day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access and participation for women and girls in science. Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO, and the support of young girls, their education and their full ability to make their ideas heard are levers for development and peace.

At the DHRLab currently 46% of the researchers are female. In the following pages the female scientists of the lab, will present their background, career path and share their experiences, with the aim to contribute in motivating other women and girls in science. Our target is to maintain equal representation in numbers and salary and also to inspire more women and girls to study and work in the field of Digital Cultural Heritage.  The fifth Goal for Sustainable Development set by the United Nations is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Since this is our first issue, let me introduce the Digital Heritage Research Lab, which was established in 2013 at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the Cyprus University of Technology. The lab is devoted to research in the area of digitisation, documentation, archiving, preservation, protection and promotion of cultural heritage, tangible and intangible remains of our past. The research scientists and doctoral students employed at the lab engage in collaborative research with national and international institutions to explore the latest technological advances in the field, their efficacy, and usefulness to bring cultural heritage information to end-users, and advance prospects for further development. At a European level, the lab collaborates with a network of over 150 key partners from the academic, research and industrial sectors working towards the development of new tools and applications.

DHRLab is hosting the unique UNESCO and European Research Area (ERA) Chairs on Digital Cultural Heritage. It has rapidly achieved a world-spectrum of collaborative research projects and has created a remarkable wide research network and an agenda with great potential for future activities (such as the H2020 ViMM Manifesto, Roadmap and Action Plan). A few of our latest achievements in the Lab are significant with unique international awards like the EU Best Innovation Award at the Fair of European Innovators in Cultural Heritage, European Commission Research Executive Agency REA: 10 years supporting excellence in science/REA’s life-changing projects and Innovation Radar Capturing and Digitisation technologies in Cultural Heritage.

Therefore, I am confident that this newsletter will bring part of our work closer to you!   

Marinos Ioannides