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Call: New ways of participatory management and sustainable financing of museums and other cultural institutions

Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 2 - Destination 2: Innovative research on the European cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries"

Europe’s rich cultural heritage, with its common values, its wealth of monuments and sites and its creative diversity of traditions, crafts, arts, architecture, literature, languages, theatre, films and music, not only reflects our past but also shapes our present and builds our future. It is a creative way of cultivating independent thinking and dialogue, while promoting our interests across the world. Access to experience with cultural heritage contributes to social cohesion and inclusion, by strengthening resilience and the sense of belonging, bringing people together and improving well-being.

Europe’s common research and innovation (R&I) action to protect, conserve, restore and repair its important cultural heritage, promote its use as one of the substantial European resources, boost its traditional and contemporary arts and create wider awareness is still limited in scope and impact. Moreover, European tangible and intangible cultural heritage is increasingly facing a number of challenges such as deterioration due to climate change, pollution, natural or man-made disasters, looting and illicit trafficking, lack of finance or insufficient valorisation. In addition, Europe’s cultural production (in particular film and music) lags behind in international competitiveness despite its high quality and quantity.

European R&I[[In this context, innovation should be understood as any new creative idea, which can take the form of products, processes, services, technologies, organisational or business models that are made available to markets, governments and society.]] activities will make a strong contribution in all these areas by strengthening our common knowledge and expertise, as well as by providing solid evidence for policy-making. They will promote and valorise our cultural heritage and arts, while increasing their international competitiveness and firming the social fabric at European, national, regional or local level. Through a broad co-operation of a wide set of stakeholders and efficient coordination between EU Member States, R&I activities will be oriented towards interdisciplinary research and actively involve the cultural and creative industries (CCIs)[[CCIs defined as in the European Commission Green Paper ‘Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries’:]]. They will connect cultural heritage with the CCIs by supporting new forms of cultural and artistic expression that build on existing cultural assets and provide access to both tangible and intangible heritage. R&I will also promote the competitiveness of cultural and creative industries. It will provide evidence about their role as innovation drivers in the wider economy. In line with the Commission priorities, the R&I activities of this Destination will help promote the European way of life, contribute to achieving the Green Deal goals and support an economy that works for people. They will also contribute to the New European Bauhaus[[The New European Bauhaus initiative was launched by European Commission President von der Leyen in her State of the European Union speech autumn 2020. More information here:]] initiative, to realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to building a stronger crisis-resilient society and economy by taking into account experiences, challenges and lessons learnt also from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concretely, R&I activities under this Destination and its calls will support these policy objectives by monitoring, safeguarding and transmitting cultural heritage, fostering the CCIs and promoting cultural diversity. They will aim at protecting historical sites and monuments, artefacts, heritage sites, cultural landscapes, museums and other cultural institutions, languages, customs, traditions and values. Through new or existing cutting-edge conservation and restoration technologies and methods, they will help restore and preserve monuments and artefacts in a green way. They will advance the protection of cultural heritage from natural hazards and anthropogenic threats, including the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural goods. Research and innovation across the cultural and creative sectors will foster their inbuilt innovation potential and will promote transformation in many parts of the economy and social development across Europe. Through new approaches, R&I will offer innovative, integrated, sustainable and participative management and business models for museums and other cultural institutions, with a view to spur inclusive growth, jobs, social cohesion and diversity. It will also contribute to develop a sustainable and quality-driven intervention on built environment in line with the New European Bauhaus initiative. Research in old and new forms of cultural and artistic expression will promote intercultural cooperation, while engaging citizens and young people. It will valorise traditional skills and the reuse of existing assets. Exploring the economic role of CCIs and investigating the impact of creative and artistic intervention into innovation processes will provide capacities to boost Europe’s competitiveness. European cultural heritage, arts and creativity can be harnessed to further develop the design and identity of products, and to shape the public image of our countries and regions. Cultural and intellectual experiences can be marketed at a premium: CCIs are at the frontline of this action, by investing in knowledge and creativity. Furthermore, the use of existing and the development of new digital methodologies will offer innovative approaches to share and increase access to and engagement with cultural heritage. Altogether, these actions will enable real cooperation and participation of a wide range of communities, including stakeholders, citizens and industry.

Through all these activities, research and innovation will underpin the European Union’s leading role in protecting, preserving and enhancing Europe’s cultural heritage and scale-up the competitiveness of its cultural and creative industries.

Proposals under this destination should consider and promote in a cross-cutting way, and whenever appropriate and applicable:

  • The use of digital and cutting-edge technologies;
  • An active and sustainable engagement with stakeholders, social innovators and citizens;
  • The active involvement of local, regional or national authorities and sectoral social partners, particularly in the uptake and implementation of research results and recommendations;
  • A clear strategy for the uptake of research outcomes, recommendations or results, in particular where CCIs are participating or are concerned;
  • Training and education activities for targeted groups of users and/or stakeholders;
  • A robust plan for how projects will use or build on outputs and results from research already undertaken and technology already available;
  • Increased participation of CCIs, SMEs and industry;
  • Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 crisis in view of a sustainable management of the post-crisis society;
  • Contribution to the European Green Deal, the New European Bauhaus as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following expected impact of the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan:

The full potential of cultural heritage, arts and cultural and creative sectors as a driver of sustainable innovation and a European sense of belonging is realised through a continuous engagement with society, citizens and economic sectors as well as through better protection, restoration and promotion of cultural heritage.

Link Link to Programme
New ways of participatory management and sustainable financing of museums and other cultural institutions
Description of call
"New ways of participatory management and sustainable financing of museums and other cultural institutions"

Expected Outcome

Projects should contribute to at least two of the following expected outcomes:

  • Explore new ways of participatory cultural management and sustainable financing for museums and other cultural institutions, in particular during and after times of crises such as the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Ensure better access to cultural heritage and engagement with local communities, to preserve and strengthen social cohesion through inclusive and participatory procedures.
  • Strengthen the sense of belonging to a common European space while respecting cultural and ethnolinguistic diversity, as well as developing an awareness of cultural pluralism.
  • Promote the role of museums and other cultural institutions in well-being, health, resilience, social inclusion and society’s dealing with trauma and post-crisis recovery.
  • Foster the role of museums and other cultural institutions in sustainable economic growth and regional development.


Museums and other cultural institutions (such as libraries, galleries, archives, memorial sites, etc.) play a key-role in social inclusion and cohesion. They create the sense of belonging, build shared identities, promote cultural awareness and historical reflection, improve people’s well-being and contribute to sustainable development and growth at local, regional and national level. Nowadays, museums and other cultural institutions are facing several challenges such as scarce funding, new legal obligations with regard to their collections (e.g. related to intellectual property rights), insufficient numbers of visitors or, to the other extreme, massive tourist crowds, which necessitate new and expensive conservation means and security tools. All these challenges are threatening the existence and efficient work of museums and other cultural institutions.

Adding to the aforementioned challenges, the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected museums, other cultural institutions, arts and the entire ecosystem around them. Museums closed down for months, leaving staff unemployed and putting at risk cultural goods, as forced closing and absence of curators can severely impact the conservation and safety of collections.

On the other hand, cultural institutions have demonstrated great resilience and creativity in communicating with their publics remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding the general lockdown, the cultural sector, fully aware of the important role of culture, immediately mobilised itself to maintain activities and ease people’s feeling of isolation. Using digital technology and artificial intelligence, museums, other cultural institutions and artists offered new possibilities to access heritage and knowledge by participating in online cultural events, developed new creative business models and provided new training and capacity-building programmes to support cultural circles, and strengthened their presence in the internet and social media.

In light of the post-COVID era, museums and other cultural institutions will need to be the agents of a truly holistic and inclusive revival, as well as the developers of the new normality. They will be called to give people a sense that their life is no longer in abeyance, help to keep up the morale and be essential markers of people’s re-engagement with their cultural heritage. Therefore, there is a pressing need to ensure methods of sustainable financing in order to help museums and other cultural institutions recover quickly, continue operate in a safe and viable way and widen as much as possible access to citizens. Although the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as far as economic losses and jobs are concerned cannot be fully predicted yet, international organisations, such as the UNESCO, ICOM, NeMO and OECD provide already recommendations for measures to be put in place. Furthermore, national authorities have started allocating recovery funds that could also benefit the cultural institutions’ sector. However, these measures are only partial, short-term solutions and do not solve the sector’s structural financing issues. Signals from the sector indicate that in particular smaller, local museums without (or with limited) structural governmental funding, suffer disproportionally.

Therefore, R&I proposals under this topic should explore ways to mitigate the challenges that museums, other cultural institutions and the entire ecosystem around them are facing nowadays, including the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. They should provide methods and models to sustainably finance cultural institutions, while ensuring equal and wide access to culture, heritage and cultural goods. Emphasis should be put on the role of local museums and new ways of participatory cultural management to help museums and other cultural institutions become fully embedded in cities’ life, taking also into account the differences between metropolis and small towns. A digital strategy might be developed as part of the new management and financing model, including sustainable ways of sharing knowledge and facilities to communicate through and about objects and collections of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Proposals are encouraged to include close interaction with local, regional and national communities and authorities, as well as cooperation with research institutions and the cultural and creative stakeholders (e.g. artists, actors, interpretation specialists, designers) to attract and engage the public and in particular young people.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 2.00 and 3.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 9.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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