Name: Nicola Lercari, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor of World Heritage
Affiliation: Department of Anthropology and Heritage Studies – University of California Merced
Nicola Lercari, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of World Heritage in the Department of Anthropology and Heritage Studies at the University of California, Merced. He received his Ph.D. in History and Computing from the University of Bologna, Italy and has participated in numerous digital humanities and digital archaeology initiatives in Italy, the United States, Turkey, and Mexico. As an archaeologist who embraces both traditional and innovative approaches, and who is committed to community engagement, his research and teaching interface with the domains of archaeology, critical heritage studies, and museum studies.
Nicola’ research interest focuses on visual methods for the investigation, documentation, and preservation of the past (e.g. remote sensing, Virtual Reality (VR), 3-D modeling for argument-making, digital data curation) and community-based digital methods for engaging local communities and park visitors (e.g. mobile apps and citizen science). At UC Merced, Lercari played a major role in establishing the World Heritage Minor and is a faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Graduate Group. He is Chair of the Wide-Area Visualization Environment (WAVE) virtual reality research facility, and the Director of the Heritage Interpretation Visualization and Experience (HIVE) Lab.
Dr. Lercari participates in the international research initiative Proyecto Regional Palenque (excavation and digital documentation of the Classic Maya city and UNESCO World Heritage site at Palenque). He is the Principal Investigator on numerous grants funded by Federal, State, and private foundations (National Science Foundation, California State Parks, Henry Luce Foundation, the Archaeological Institute of America, University of California Office of the President, Hellman Fellows Award, CITRIS, and UC Mexus among others.
More specifically, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) (PI on a $60,000 grant) and the California Department of Parks and Recreation and Resources Legacy Fund (PI on a $80,000 grant from these two sponsor) have supported Dr. Lercari’s work on designing and developing augmented reality (A/R) mobile phone apps for parks visitors. The University of California Office of the President has supported Dr. Lercari’s work on digital heritage and at-risk global heritage (Co-Pi on a $1.07 million multi-campus grant – PI Thomas Levy – UC President’s Research Catalyst Award 2016 - Prime Award No: CA-16-376911). The National Science Foundation supports Dr. Lercari’s work on immersive virtual reality and hyper-speed networks (Co-Pi on a $422,460 NSF grant – PI Susanne Sindi – NSF CC* Networking Infrastructure Program Award No: 1659210).