The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a 7 year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. Since 2008, a team of archeologists, lawyers, anthropologists, Indigenous organizations, museum specialists, ethicists and policy-makers from eight different countries has been exploring conceptual, ethical, legal and practical challenges in cultural heritage research.
The IPinCH project combines a community-based collaborative research approach with topical exploration of intellectual property (IP) issues – ranging from the complexities of defining intellectual property and cultural heritage to issues of control and access. The goal is to create a foundation of research, knowledge and resources to assist archaeologists, academic institutions, Indigenous organizations, descendant communities, scholars, policy makers, and other stakeholders in negotiating more equitable and successful policies and terms for research. Self-reflective analyses on individual and institutional experiences and lessons learned about research ethics policy and practice are a priority of the project.
The IPinCH project is funded through a $2.5-million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and significant contributions by community partners and collaborating institutions. In recognition of the project’s achievements, IPinCH received a SSHRC Impact (Partnership) Award in 2014. This award has made possible the Indigenous Research Ethics Conference: Working Better Together.