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Art and the digital: Unleashing creativity for European industry, regions and society - Connect/2018/6144024
Deadline: 22 Jan 2019   CALL EXPIRED

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 Arts Education
 Creative Industries
 Digital Culture


Europe's capacity to compete in the global market will depend on its capacity to convert scientific and technological knowledge into innovative products and services. Even more, Europe’s appeal for citizens will depend on how cities and regions can create an inspiring environment for their citizens and businesses that opens new opportunities for all. The claim is that combining European creativity in culture and the arts with its lead in science and technology can make this happen.

In this respect, the transformation of society by digital technologies is opening new opportunities for collaboration across disciplines and sectors; in particular, for a committed partnership between digital technology and creativity in the arts (possibly including crafts, design or fashion). New digital media (like augmented reality or social media), smart cities technologies, smart materials (like wearables or bio-inspired materials), Artificial Intelligence, data science, or 3D printing will team up with artistic practices to transform European cities and regions, culturally, socially, and economically. Such collaboration will help enhance social inclusion, create new businesses opportunities, push for sustainable development or revive urban centres.

The contention is that, in order to enable such cross-overs between technology and creative sectors, we need local art-technology centres as catalysts that bring together all players (artists, technology, industry, businesses, creatives from all sectors...). Fostering and framing (on an institutional, policy and funding level) such centres is the core goal of the present call.

The 2015 Latvian Presidency conclusions on ‘crossovers from culture to businesses' invited the European institutions to consider enhancing collaboration between arts and technology for a holistic exploration of opportunities in the digital age. The Commission - DG Connect - has reacted by launching the S+T+ARTS == STARTS programme - innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology and the ARTS in their H2020 program.

STARTS is promoting innovation for industry and society with the arts as a catalyst for unconventional thinking about and exploration/use of technology. This call for proposals will explore how to broaden STARTS beyond its industry focus and extend it from pure industrial settings to regional and urban development where the digital plays today a prominent role and where a joint effort of art and digital technologies could help create a burgeoning environment for prospering cities.

There is already a number of regions and cities that attempt to have art and technology jointly work on activities that allow development of urban infrastructures, both social and business related. This call will solicit proposals that link existing and planned initiatives across Europe in order to create a Europe-wide network of like-minded cities/regions counting on synergies between the arts and digital technologies to boost local business and to enhance social cohesion.

The objectives of the present call for proposals are two-fold (for details see section 2):

(a) Nurturing a network of pertinent players in cities and regions across Europe willing to create or offer existing local infrastructures (buildings, institutions etc.) to foster collaborations of artists and technologists.

The network will engage a dialogue between public and private actors how to setup, fund, manage, and use existing and emerging local art and technology centres and will help emerge a Europe-wide net of STARTS type centres. It will lay out a policy framework in order to support/finance emerging and expanding local centres that enable collaboration of the arts with technology and business. Such funding should come from local players but may include European funding via e.g. structural funds.

(b) Funding seed activities in existing or emerging art and technology centres that will help lay the ground to achieve the vision expressed by an art-technology framework for innovation in an urban or regional context. Such activities could include exhibitions, workshops between artists and engineers, or workshops where artists and engineers jointly teach digital skills to citizens or even businesses.

Legal Basis

Pilot project within the meaning of Article 58(2)(a) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).

The annual work programme was adopted under Commission Decision C/2018/6834 of 22/10/2018.

The present call for proposals

The present call for proposals will select a consortium to execute the project as outlined above (objectives (a) and (b)) and detailed in section 2.


The consortium should comprise partners (local research/technology organisations or art centres, local city councils, foundations, etc.) that are already involved in activities linking art and technology, in particular in creating (or in offering existing) infrastructures in cities or regions that enable links of art and technology. For details on eligibility of consortia, see section 6.



2.1 Objectives and activities

The pilot project will work on two objectives: (a) Networking and Policy framing:

The pilot project will deliver a clear policy framework for action how to support links of art and technology that could positively impact urban and regional development.

A main task will be to set up a network of key players (local authorities, foundations, business, art organisations, investors, etc.) willing to promote the idea of art and technology collaboration as a driver of urban and regional development. The network may start from stakeholders in the participating cities and regions but should foresee measures to extend to other cities/regions.

The network should investigate pathways (including financial) towards the creation of local art-technology centres and initiatives that put to use art and technology collaboration in a societal context of urban/regional development. An additional policy goal will be to contribute to pertinent activities of European institutions (including framework programmes, structural funds, education programmes’ links to foundations willing to foster such centres etc.) by raising the awareness of the value-added of crossovers from art to innovation for all of European society. The project will draw policy recommendations on how crossovers from art to technology and innovation in cities and regions can be implemented in European Union activities by making links to regional and commission funding schemes, like structural funds for regions or the newly created digital innovation hubs.

The project will fund

-Networking events of stakeholders in cities/regions already at the forefront of this movement and those starting activities in this area.

-Possible mentor activities (e.g. teaming up with investors, discussing possible support with local foundations, training in EC structural funding activities). Applicants should propose a list of activities that could credibly foster emergence and support of art- technology collaboration on a local level.

(b) Seed activities:

The pilot project will seed-fund novel ideas for art-technology collaborations. It will fund activities of the following type:

- Have technology and the arts team up to make the digital more accessible to citizens in particular the young generation (digital skills and critical thinking). ‘STARTS academies’ that unite engineers and artists in teaching digital skills to citizens or motivate and enable them to appropriate digital technologies (e.g. use of data by and for citizens).

-Exhibitions and installations that showcase innovation rooted in art-technology collaboration: e.g. artistic explorations of digital technology in context of urban development (for example data science and art jointly make data – like e.g. mobility data - useful in context of urban development).

- Support exploitation of results from art –technology collaboration by e.g. local business and allow inclusion of artist in local development projects where art and technology team up to enhance the social fabric.

- Support collaboration of artists with local businesses and with industry, e.g. by sponsoring residencies of artists in businesses/technology institutions or of engineers in artist ateliers.

The above activities are not prescriptive/mandatory and other activities can be proposed. The consortium should be able to co-fund (50%) these seed activities.

2.2 Desired outcomes

Regarding objective (a):

Create an open network of pertinent players in regions and cities interested in art and technology collaboration for local development. Stimulate creation of urban STARTS centres or reuse of existing centres as STARTS centres and ensure their funding.

Work on a European (policy) perspective of how to solicit and fund local activities that put forward digital technologies and art collaboration to stimulate social cohesion and local business development by building on local cultural assets.

Regarding objective (b):

Organise co-funded seed activities that show the appeal of art-technology collaboration (including e.g. STARTS academies, STARTS events, STARTS residencies, and STARTS exhibitions in the participating cities). These seed activities should solicit further activities in the participating cities that bring together artists, business and technology to work on local development projects.

2.3 Methodology

In developing objectives (a) and (b), the following general guidelines apply:

  • -  Strong links with local stakeholders that can drive art-technology activities, both public (e.g, city authorities) and private (e.g. foundations), should be achieved

  • -  Strong links with the artistic community and local business community and technology institutions should be established.

  • -  The targeted businesses and end-users should comprise a variety of sectors, not exclusively the creative sector. In particular digital industry should be targeted.

  • -  The long-term goal of establishing local art-technology centres (or dedicated art- technology activities) should drive the overall proposal for activities.

  • - The choice of activities in objective (b) should be based on their likely-hood to help stimulate the idea of art and technology collaboration as a driver of local development.

Structure of the application

To be admissible (see section 5), applicants must follow the structure given in section III.1 of the Grant Application Form.



(a) Publication of the call

Q4 2018

(b) Deadline for submitting applications

January 22nd, 2019

(c) Evaluation period

Q1 2019

(d) Information to applicants

Q1/Q2 2019

(e) Signature of grant agreement

Q1/Q2 2019

Scheduled start date for the action: as soon as possible upon signature of grant agreement but no later than 1 May 2019.



The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at 1.000.000 EUR (one million euros).

The Commission expects to fund 1 proposal.

The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

The financial contribution from the Commission cannot exceed 60% of the total eligible costs, 70% of eligible costs linked to objective (a) and 50% of eligible costs linked to objective (b). It is foreseen to split budget approximately equally between objectives (a) and (b). Personnel costs shall not exceed 40% of total costs.

Remark: it will be important that the consortium has access to co-financing capacity for the seed activities of objective (b).



In order to be admissible, applications must be:

  •   sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3;

  •   submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form and in electronic form (pdf format); and

  •  drafted in one of the EU official languages .

Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.



6.1. Eligible applicants

Proposals may be submitted by any of the following applicants:

  •   non-profit organisation (private or public);

  •   public authorities (national, regional, local);

  •   universities;

  •   educational institutions;

  •   research centres

  •   profit making entities.

Natural persons are not eligible to apply for a grant under this call for proposals.

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17.3 of the grant agreement.

Affiliated entities

Entities affiliated1 to the applicants are not eligible to receive funding under this Call for proposals. They may take part in the action as affiliated entities at their own costs only.

Country of establishment

Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:

  •  EU Member States.

Consortium requirements

  •   In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium composed of at least 3 legal entities.

  •   The consortium must involve at a minimum three regions/cities (via an appropriate representative) with existing activities in art and technology. Presence of institutions in these cities/regions (e.g. foundations or businesses, local public authorities) willing to contribute financially to emergence of art-technology centres in these cities and to the seed activities described in section 2.1 is mandatory.

In accordance with Article 187 FR, entities that satisfy the eligibility criteria and that do not fall within one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141(1) FR and that have a link with the applicant, in particular a legal or capital link, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, will be considered as entities affiliated to the applicant.


Supporting documents

In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:


  • private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);
  • public entity: copy of the resolution, decision or other official document establishing the public-law entity ;

6.2 Eligible activities

The following types of activities are eligible under this call for proposals:

  •   Events and Exhibition;

  •   Residencies of artists in technology institutions: fees, travel and daily allowance covering all needs;

  •   financial support to third parties (see point 11.7. d)). Implementation perio

  •  the project's duration must be between 12 months and 15 months.

Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals will not be accepted.



7.1. Exclusion

The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

  1. (a)  the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, it is in an arrangement with creditors, its business activities are suspended, or it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under EU or national laws or regulations;

  2. (b)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the applicable law;

  3. (c)  ithasbeenestablishedbyafinaljudgmentorafinaladministrativedecisionthatthe applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

    1. (i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of eligibility or selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

    2. (ii)  entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;

    3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

    4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the [Commission] [Agency] during the award procedure;

    5. (v)  attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

  4. (d)  it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

    2. (ii)  corruption, as defined in Article 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

    3. (iii)  conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. (v)  terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

    6. (vi)  child labour or other offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (e)  theapplicanthasshownsignificantdeficienciesincomplyingwithmainobligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

  6. (f)  it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;

  7. (g)  It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

  8. (h) it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

  9. (i) for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:

    1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;

    2. (ii)  non-final judgments or non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;

    3. (iii)  facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

    4. (iv)  information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

    5. (v)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or

    6. (vi)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

7.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.4), it must indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

  1. (a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or

  2. (b)  has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information; or

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.

Administrative sanctions (exclusion) may be imposed on applicants if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.4. Supporting documents

Applicants must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available at This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

  1. (i)  the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants; OR

  2. (ii)  each applicant in the consortium signs a declaration in its name; OR

  3. (iii)  each applicant in the consortium each sign a separate declaration in their own




8.1. Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60 000):

  •  a declaration on their honour
  1. b)  Grants

     a declaration on their honour


     the profit and loss account as well as the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the accounts were closed;

     for newly created entities: the business plan might replace the above documents;


     the table provided for in the annex to the application form, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures.

  2. c)  Grants for an action > EUR 750 000:
    (i) the information and supporting documents mentioned in point b) above, and

  3. (ii) an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available, where such an audit report is available or whenever a statutory report is required by law.

    If the audit report is not available AND a statutory report is not required by law, a self-declaration signed by the applicant's authorised representative certifying the validity of its accounts for the last financial year available must be provided.

    In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply to each applicant.



On the basis of the documents submitted, if the Commission considers that financial capacity is weak, s/he may:

  •   request further information;

  •   decide not to give pre-financing;

  •   decide to give pre-financing paid in instalments;

  •   decide to give pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 11.4 below);

  •   where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries.

If the RAO considered that the financial capacity is insufficient s/he will reject the application.

8.2. Operational capacity

Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed action. The applicants must demonstrate collectively prior activity at the crossings of art and technology. Some partners should have had prior exposure to STARTS activities and some partners to putting forward art and technology collaboration on a city/regional level.

In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:

  •   A description of the applicants’ relevant competences and previous experiences;

  •   curriculum vitae of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation. This CV must prove capacity to work at the intersection of art, technology and regional development. The CV must help establish a track record for having organised activities and projects that link art and technology.



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