The CRC works on three cross-cutting themes corresponding to the fundamental missions of its teams: carry out applied research on heritage objects
Historically, this theme has been the CRC's most important activity. In addition to research in the human sciences, its aim is to gain a better understanding of cultural assets, their history and their uses through physico-chemical analyses. This research involves characterising the chemical composition of materials using increasingly non-invasive analytical methods. The research programmes in this theme are structured by study materials, as in the other themes.
Theme 2 concerns the understanding of alteration phenomena and the study of the underlying physico-chemical and biological processes. This theme appears to be more fundamental than the other two. It is clearly positioned upstream of theme 3, conservation, restoration and restitution, since only an understanding of the mechanisms of deterioration and the ability to make a correct diagnosis can enable conservation to be optimised and reliable, lasting restoration to be envisaged. It is therefore also the most scientifically 'hard' (by qualifying as 'hard' sciences what does not fall within the field of human and social sciences).
The aim of this theme is to better pass on cultural assets to future generations by limiting the alteration of their value. This involves developing and optimising conservation and restoration methods, for example by developing consolidation techniques and studying their effectiveness, their secondary or even undesirable effects, or by restitution methods. According to the CRC's mission statement, this area of activity is one of the unit's priorities. In particular, it aims to give priority to the study of the impact of the environment on collections and to the development of conservation strategies that take sustainable development into account.