Nicola Lercari

Name: Nicola Lercari, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor of World Heritage
Affiliation: School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, Humanities and World Cultures

Faculty web page:

Nicola Lercari, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of World Heritage in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at UC Merced. He investigates digital cultural heritage, human-centered design, digital archaeology, heritage data science, virtual museums, virtual reality and augmented reality, virtual worlds and serious games, and 3D visualization of the past. He received his Ph.D. in History and Computing from the University of Bologna, Italy with a dissertation on the visualization of medieval urban spaces. Lercari has worked on several digital humanities initiatives both in Italy (CINECA supercomputing center and University of Bologna) and in the United States (UC Merced and Duke University).

At UC Merced, Dr. Lercari is a founding member of the World Heritage program, a core faculty member of the Wide-Area Visualization Environment research facility, and the Director of the Heritage Interpretation Visualization and Experience (HIVE) Lab. He contributes to promote digital scholarship activities that bridge interdisciplinary knowledge from fields such as design, anthropology, heritage studies, remote sensing, GIS, 3D visualization, and community-engaged research.

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) and Çatalhöyük Research Project (excavation of the Neolithic city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Çatalhöyük in Central Anatolia, Turkey). He is the Principal Investigator on numerous grants funded by UC Merced, UC-wide entities (CITRIS, UC Mexus, both as PI; UC President’s Research Catalyst Award as a co-PI), and nine awards from external sources, including NSF (co-PI), California State Parks (PI), Henry Luce Foundation (co-PI), the Archaeological Institute of America (PI), a Hellman award (PI), and the Mellon Foundation (PI), 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) are supporting Dr. Lercari’s work in designing and developing augmented reality mobile phone apps for parks visitors. The University of California Office of the President is supporting 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 is supporting 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).

Read an interview with Professor Lercari from 2015 to learn more