1. The EU “Culture” programme
  2. EU selection criteria
  3. The funds raised
  4. The EU “Culture” programme

The aim of European cultural policy is to find commonality in European culture, to raise awareness of Europe’s cultural heritage and thus to increase the feeling of togetherness among the citizens of Europe, without however blurring cultural differences at national and regional levels.

As well as striving to improve knowledge of the cultures and the history of the peoples of Europe, European cultural policy pursues the aim of protecting Europe’s cultural heritage, and of promoting cultural works and in particular cultural exchange.

The EU “Culture” programme runs from 2007 until 2013, with the first round of applications for funds starting this year. The programme is a direct successor to “Culture 2000”, and has a total budget of € 400 million, split over several sub-programmes. It is implemented by the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission in coordination with the Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency.

Strand 1 of the Culture programme welcomes applications for funding for outstanding cultural cooperation projects. These may comprise
a) (“smaller”) cooperation measures consisting of at least 3 partners from 3 countries, with a maximum duration of 2 years and a maximum funding limit per project of € 200,000 (but no more than 50% of the total project costs). It is intended that each year, around 80 such projects will be funded in this way.
a) multi-annual cooperation projects consisting of at least 6 partners from 6 countries, with a maximum duration of 5 years and a maximum funding limit per project of € 2.5 million (but no more than 50% of the total project costs). It is intended that each year, around 12 such projects will be funded in this way. In the current funding round, only 10 projects in total have in fact received funding!
The Reiss-Engelhorn Museums were successful in this strand of the programme.

In many ways, “Culture 2007-2013” is similar to its predecessor, “Culture 2000”. However, an important distinction, of vital significance to our application, is the duration and maximum funding available to multi-annual projects. Under the previous programme, such projects were limited to three years, now, this maximum duration is lifted to five. The available funds have also risen from a previous maximum of € 300,000 per year to € 500,000 per year. This has considerably augmented the maximum funding available (from € 900,000 to € 2.5 million), thus improving the depth and quality of cooperation.

The programme provides financial support opportunities for all sectors of culture (fine arts, performing arts, cultural heritage, literature, books and reading, architecture, design and applied arts) and for all types of cultural players.
Participants may be public or private bodies with legal status, whose principle activity is in the cultural sphere. Each participating body must be based in one of the 27 EU Member States, or in a country of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). (The candidate countries – Croatia and Turkey – and countries of the western Balkans are permitted to participate subject to the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding with the EU.)

The specific objectives of the programme are:

1. To promote cross-border mobility and cooperation with regard to those working in the cultural sector;
2. To encourage the transnational circulation of cultural and artistic works and creations, and;
3. To foster intercultural dialogue and exchange (in respect of the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue” in 2008).
Each application must respond to at least 2 of these 3 objectives.

EU selection criteria

1. Response to the objectives: To what extent are the general cultural policy objectives of the EU (i.e. establishing commonality in European cultures, raising awareness of Europe's cultural heritage and thus strengthening the spirit of togetherness of Europe’s peoples, without however blurring any differences at national or regional level) and the specific objectives of the programme (i.e. mobility and cooperation, circulation of cultural and artistic works and creations, and intercultural dialogue) promoted by the project?

2.  Consideration of “European added value”i.e.: The objectives, methods and the way in which cooperation will extend beyond local, regional or national interests: Cooperation should result in something that is greater than the sum of the various activities at national level. It will produce true, multilateral exchange, exploiting synergies and promoting the pursuit of shared objectives. At European level, therefore, the project produces greater results than (merely) those available at a lower level.

3. The quality of the proposal: Consideration will be given to:
 The content (in artistic and cultural terms) of the project and the originality of its approach
 The extent of involvement of all partners in the development, implementation and financing of the project, as well as the degree of cooperation among partners
 The clarity of the financial planning and transparency over the amounts earmarked for each activity
 The methodology of project management and the experience and capabilities of the coordinator to ensure that the project is managed within both its organisational and financial constraints

The funds raisedThe total project value amounts to € 4,969,530, or approximately € 1 million per year.

Of this, 50% (€ 2,484,765) is provided by the EU, while the remaining 50% is distributed over the seven partners in the project, each of whom must contribute at least 5% to the total volume (this is a condition of the programme).
A larger share has been provided by the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, since the group is also responsible for overall coordination of the project.
More than 70% of the budget is dedicated to research, the work of the groups, and the acquisition of devices and materials.
Around 15% will be allocated to project management and administration. The remaining funds are planned for the staging of conferences, seminars and workshops, and for the communication and dissemination of the findings.

Implementation of a project within the EU “Culture” programme attracts funds to the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums and to Mannheim. Moreover, the project provides REM with an excellent opportunity to strengthen its position on the European and international stage, and to develop and set in place structures for long-lasting cooperation with renowned research establishments and museums. With its expertise in responding to EU calls, the Europe Office has made a significant contribution to the realisation of the European Network, thus supplying a further key element in the positioning of Mannheim on the world stage.