DiSPAtCHes aims to establish an ERA Chair in data spaces for cultural heritage in GATE Institute Big Data for Smart Society at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. The project will set up and maintain a team of excellent researchers at GATE Institute addressing a coherent set of research challenges accompanying the establishment and the evolution of the European cultural heritage data space.

GATE Institute is a Center of Excellence in big data and artificial intelligence and one of the eight European data space hubs of the International Data Spaces Association. The European data space for cultural heritage is in its initial stages and a programme of focused research and strong cross-sector collaboration will contribute to the ongoing shift in the digital cultural heritage domain.



Attracting as a potential chair Professor Seamus Ross, currently in the University of Toronto, Canada, GATE seeks to achieve:

  • Substantial boost in its expertise adding data spaces for digital cultural heritage to its portfolio.
  • Increasing its excellent staff members number by 9% and its visibility with over 30 high quality new publications.
  • Supporting the structural reforms in the host institution which would further help to strengthen its pockets of excellence.
  • Reverting the brain drain and offering opportunities for early stage researchers, including 5 PhD students.
  • Demonstrating the various aspects of open science and sharing with the wider University community especially withi the Humanities where open science is underused.

Establishing the unit as a permanent one by the end of the project will help to consolidate the currently dispersed digital cultural heritage expertise at the host, enhance the GATE Institute excellence and the diversity in its staff and contribute to the efforts for creating European data space in cultural heritage.