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Organisation and implementation of the annual European Heritage Awards (2019-2021) - EAC/S48/2017
Deadline: 17 Aug 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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The European Union's role in the cultural area is specified in Article 167 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU. The European Commission’s activities in this area are framed in particular by the European Agenda for Culture, which aims to reinforce the role and position of culture in an increasingly globalised world. The role of the European Commission (hereafter “the Commission”) is to help address common challenges, such as the impact of the digital shift, changing models of cultural governance, and the need to support the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors. The Commission is committed to promoting cultural diversity, protecting cultural heritage, easing obstacles to the mobility of cultural professionals, and supporting the contribution of cultural and creative industries to boosting growth and jobs across the EU, in line with the principles of the European Agenda for Culture. Understanding and preserving our cultural heritage and diversity are pre-requisites to maintain our cultural community, our common values and identity.

Following the Gothenburg summit in November1 and the European Council in December 20172, culture has gained an important momentum in EU policy. However, important work still lies ahead with the preparation of the New European Agenda for Culture, the Work Plan for culture 2019-2022, and in working to secure a favourable budget for culture and cultural heritage within the new long-term EU Budget.

Since 2014 the EU programme "Creative Europe" (hereafter “the Programme”) 3 has served as a consolidated framework programme in support of Europe's cultural and audiovisual sectors. It shall support actions and activities with a European added value in the cultural and creative sectors. The “EU Prize for cultural heritage” which will be awarded in the future under the new name “European Heritage Awards” is one of the “Special Actions”4 foreseen under the Culture Sub-programme designed to make the richness and diversity of European cultures more visible and to stimulate intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. According to the Creative Europe Work Programme 

for 2018, C(2017)6002, adopted by Commission Decision of 6 September 2017 and revised by C(2018)2290 of 23 April 20185 (index reference 2.18) the European Heritage Awards seek to:

  •   Highlight recent, excellent examples of heritage care;

  •   Foster educational aspects and build on the digital qualities of the awarded sites;

  •   Showcase remarkable efforts made in raising awareness about cultural heritage and its value to the European society and economy.

This is in line with the renewed focus on heritage, the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH)6 which is an opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of culture and cultural heritage and, in particular, to recall that cultural heritage belongs to all. It is also the moment to highlight the strong economic role that cultural heritage plays, e.g fostering tourism and contributing to sustainable regional development which creates jobs. It provides an occasion to show how digital tools can broaden access to cultural material and opportunities. Therefore it is important to keep that momentum and to continue our common efforts to preserve cultural heritage and foster a sense of a European identity and culture. EU cooperation on culture will be strengthened in the future under a New European Agenda for Culture7 which will include an Action Plan on Cultural Heritage. The European Heritage Award will be one of the instruments to promote the spirit of the year in the future. For this reason the contribution of the Commission in 2018 for the European Heritage Award 2019 is raised to EUR 400 000,00 in order to have an increased focus and showcase the very best practices of Europe related to heritage conservation, management, research, education and communication.

In the context of the preparations of the next long-term EU Budget post-2020, discussions on the future EU programme for culture have started.8



2.1. General Objectives

The purpose of this call for proposals is to select an organisation/consortium capable of organising the European Heritage Awards for the Commission for the period 2019-2021 (as of the 2019 edition with preparatory work in 2018). The work entails the organisation of procedures for the selection of the award winners, the organisation of the award ceremony and the promotion of the awards and their winners. Emphasis should be given to a greater visibility of the awards through communication and network activities within the sector to exchange information and best practices. The successful applicant will be invited to sign a framework partnership agreement for a maximum period of four years 

(i.e. four annual editions of the awards), subject to an annual confirmation from the Commission.

The European Heritage Awards serve to raise awareness of the issues and challenges facing the sector, to recognise achievements in service to protect European cultural heritage and to encourage a greater appreciation of European cultural heritage. Therefore, the objective of the prize is to highlight recent, excellent examples of heritage conservation, including reuse, and to showcase remarkable efforts made through awareness raising – also in the educational sense - about our cultural heritage and its value to the European society and economy. Furthermore, there is a need to promote high quality practices in the field of cultural heritage work, ensuring the continuity of a long-standing tradition of European excellence trough professional training in this field. This could also encourage the exchange of best practices and the export of European skills and expertise to international markets. The prize should valorise outstanding research, which leads to tangible effects in the conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage in Europe and encourages the citizens’ engagement.

The EU has been co-funding the EU prize for cultural heritage since 2002 through the EU Culture Programme as a "Special Action"9. Being supported within the framework of the Creative Europe programme, the conditions for participation are determined in the regulation establishing this programme10, e.g. the prize is open to EU Member States and to other countries participating in the Creative Europe programme as long as they meet the conditions referred to in Article 8 of the above-mentioned regulation.

The aim of this call for proposals is to ensure the continuation of the EU Prize for cultural heritage under the new name European Heritage Awards beyond the 2018 edition and to be coherent with the objectives of the EYCH.

2.2. Outputs

More specifically, the aim of the call for proposals is to select an organisation/consortium that will:

  1. (a)  Implement a solid and credible mechanism to select European cultural heritage projects that illustrate the aim of the prize for tangible, intangible, natural and digital heritage;

  2. (b)  Award together with the Commission projects and personalities according to different categories (conservation, research and innovation, dedicated service and education, training and awareness-raising) with the European Cultural Heritage Awards and among those laureates at least seven Grand Prix laureates receiving prize money of at least EUR 10 000,00 each (see section 13.7d);

  3. (c)  Organise communication activities, including an annual high quality and visible awards ceremony as of the 2019 edition. This ceremony should showcase the talent and creativity that exists in the field of cultural heritage in Europe;

  4. (d)  Sustain a momentum ensuring high visibility for the prize, the laureates and the values that the prize promote in between the award ceremonies and engage different target groups for the prize in an inclusive way11, including European citizens in general and younger people and underrepresented people in particular;

  5. (e) Develop networking and partnership activities with a view to ensuring the sustainable impact of the prize, including a visible linkage with the European Heritage Days (EHD)12 and the European Heritage Label (EHL)13:



The Commission will support the European Heritage Awards through a three year Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) for the period 2019-2021 (as of the 2019 edition with preparatory work in 2018 - and until and including the 2021 edition with preparatory work in 2020), subject to the availability of funds.

The FPA will set out the conditions governing annual grants for the action, on the basis of a three year strategic plan. The FPA defines the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission and the selected organisation(s) in implementing the partnership. It presents the common objectives agreed by the organisation(s) and the Commission, the type of activities envisaged, the procedure to conclude a specific agreement for an annual grant for the action as well as the general rights and the obligations of each party under the grant specific agreements. This FPA does not constitute an obligation for the Commission to conclude a specific agreement for an annual grant for the action.

The organisation(s) is/are required to submit a work plan for the FPA period as part of the application for the FPA. The work plan of the organisation(s) shall comprise an overall description of activities and outputs for the entire period of the FPA, and a description of how these will be divided into yearly work plans.

In addition, a detailed annual work plan is requested for the first year (2019 prize), which will be subject to a specific grant agreement.

For years 2 and 3, the Commission will invite the organisation(s) with whom the FPA has been signed, to provide annually a detailed work plan for the next year of operation and a corresponding budget in order to conclude specific agreements for a grant for the action for each year of operation.

Please note that concluding the specific agreement for a grant for the action is subject to the Commission's assessment of the detailed annual work plan and the corresponding detailed budget, and of the annual activity report for the previous year, as well as to the availability of budgetary appropriations.



In order to ensure that the FPA activities get off to a timely start, a detailed work plan describing the action and an estimated budget is required for the first year of the action (2019 prize), which will be subject to a specific grant agreement concluded after signature of the FPA. The work plan for the first year should demonstrate how the applicant intends to implement the FPA work plan; it will be subject to a separate evaluation and award decision.

Subject to the availability of funds, the Commission will ask the successful organisation or consortium to provide detailed annual work plans and budgets in order to conclude specific agreements for an action grant for the two following years of the prize. The work plans for each following year will be assessed against the award criteria set out in this call (see section 11).

The conclusion of specific agreements for an action grant is subject to the Commission’s assessment of the detailed annual work plans and budgets, and to the availability of budgetary appropriations.




Publication of the call

End of June/2018


Deadline for submitting applications

17/08/2018 13:00 CET


Evaluation period

September 2018


Information to applicants

October 2018


Signature of framework partnership agreement

November 2018


Signature of specific grant agreement

November / December 2018


Starting date of the action

November / December 2018



The total budget for the co-financing of this action for the period 2019-2021 is estimated to 1 200 000,00 EUR.

For the 1st specific grant agreement (to be signed in 2018 for the 2019 edition of the prize), the budget is estimated at 400 000,00 EUR.

For the next years and future specific agreements, the budget is subject to the availability of the appropriations provided for in the draft budget after the adoption of the annual budget by the budgetary authority.

The EU grant is limited to a maximum co-financing rate of 80 % of eligible costs. The appropriations for the subsequent years will be confirmed at a later stage.


This budget should cover activities in accordance with the objectives (section 2), including the prize money for at least the seven Grand Prix of at least 10 000,00 EUR each.

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



  •   Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 5.

  •   Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 16), using the application form.

  •   Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages.
    Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the




14 Eligible applicants

8. 8.1.

This call is open only to legal entities. The call is open to public or private organisations whose chief activity lies in the field of cultural heritage and which have at least five years proven experience in organising activities and events at a European level in this field.

Natural persons are not eligible.

Several legal entities forming together one legal entity or 'sole beneficiary' which may, or may not, have been specifically established for carrying out the action (e.g. groupings, joint ventures) may take part in the action. Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 13.1.

For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

Only applications from entities established in EU Members States or in the countries mentioned in Article 8 of the regulation establishing the Creative Europe programme15 are eligible, provided that, for the latter, on the date referred to in section 4b) of this call, agreements have been signed setting out the arrangements for the participation of those countries in the Culture sub-programme, including the Prizes under the Special Actions. The updated list of non-EU countries that participate in the Creative Europe programme can be found at countries.pdf.

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 of the Framework partnership agreement.

In the event that the activities are to be implemented by several entities working together, i.e. a 'consortium', the legal entities must comply with the eligibility, non-exclusion and selection criteria set out in this call for proposals. All the legal entities forming the consortium must be identified in the application.

For the purpose of declaring eligible costs as specified under section 13.1, the entities composing the applicant shall be treated as affiliated entities.

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 ;

8.2. Eligible activities

Types of activities eligible under this call for proposals:

  • -  Organisation and awarding of a prize for different prize categories including development and implementation of a selection mechanism and an award ceremony;

  • -  Measures proposed to create a momentum between the award ceremonies combined with follow-up activities in line with the EYCH 2018;

  • -  Communication and audience development activities,

  • -  Networking and partnership activities, including with EHD and EHL.

Implementation period

It is expected that the starting date of the action will be November / December 2018. It is expected to sign 3 consecutive specific agreements under this Framework Grant Agreement. The duration of the period of eligibility of costs of each specific grant agreement will be no longer than 12 months. No extension to the period of eligibility of costs beyond the maximum duration will be granted.

Under duly justified circumstances, and only upon express agreement of the European Commission, the applicant may start the project before the framework partnership and specific agreement are signed. This request should be made before the signature of the specific agreement. However, under no circumstances can the project start before the deadline for submission indicated in section 5 of this Call for Proposals.

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




9.1. Exclusion

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

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

(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 law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;

(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the 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 conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes 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 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 during the award procedure;

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

(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 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 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, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;

  3. (iii)  participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

  4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (v)  terrorist-related 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 forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations 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;

(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.

(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to:


  1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, 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 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)  decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations;

  4. (iv)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law.

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

Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 9.4), it should 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 prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. 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 9.1.

9.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

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

  1. is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 9.116;

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

  3. was previously involved in the preparation of calls for proposal documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.

9.4. Supporting documents17

Applicants and affiliated entities must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in articles 106(1) and 107 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available as annex 2.

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

a) for mono beneficiary grants

The applicant signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities.

b) for multi beneficiaries grants

The coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities.



 10.1. Financial capacity19

The financial capacity will be assessed based on the following methodology: see annexe 7.

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:

Grants with a pre-financing value of 600 000,00 EUR or less

For grants of this type, proof of financial capacity is constituted by a declaration on the honour by the grant applicant (see Annex 2).

However, in case of doubt and only for grants exceeding 60 000,00 EUR, the assessment committee reserves the right to request supporting documents and to carry out a financial analysis as described at point 4 of annex 7 (cf. Article 131(3) of the FR)


Moreover for grants exceeding 60 000,00 EUR, entities falling into one of the high-risk categories mentioned at point 3.1 of annex 7 must provide proof of their financial capacity and are required to undergo the financial analysis provided for in point 4 of the same annex 7.

In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (“the sole applicant”, as specified in section 8.1), the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.

On the basis of the documents submitted, if the RAO considers the financial capacity to be 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;
  • where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries;

If the application.

RAO considers the financial capacity to be insufficient s/he will reject the

10.2. Operational capacity20
Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications

necessary to complete the proposed action. Applicants must demonstrate:

  • -  Proven experience of minimum 5 years within the Heritage sector

  • -  Access to Heritage stakeholders in all participating countries under the Creative Europe Programme in order to identify eligible quality Heritage works,

  • -  Proven experience in organizing events and communication activities at European level,

  • -  Proven experience of managing at least 2 European projects over the last 5 years,

  • -  Ability to communicate fluently in at least two EU languages including English (C1 level).

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

  •   curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation (accompanied where appropriate, like in the field of research and education, by a list of relevant publications);

  •   the organisation's activity reports;

  •   an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to the policy field of a given call or to the actions to be carried out; 20 Article 131 FR, 202 RAP.

In the case of legal entities forming one applicant (the "sole" applicant), as specified in section 8.1, the above requirements apply to each one of those entities.


Eligible applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
A. Relevance of the proposal, its compliance to the objectives of the call (30 points) This criterion will assess:

(i) the nature and suitability of the mechanisms proposed to select the winners, with a view to ensuring a balanced geographic spread and developing the credibility of the Prize and, where suitable,

(ii) the suitability of the concept proposed for the award ceremony with a view to ensuring a high quality and accessible event. This means reaching out for different target groups for the Prize in an inclusive way, including European citizens in general and younger people and underrepresented people in particular.

B. Suitability of visibility and communication activities (30 points)

This criterion will assess:

(i) the nature and quality of the strategy proposed to create a momentum and raise awareness about the Prize with a view to enhancing the recognition and reputation of the Prize within its sector, the media and the general public and to raising its impact, via the use (amongst other means) of media partnerships, social media and new technologies, in order to:

1) reinforce the branding acquired so far by the Prize among professionals of its sector, and

2) develop further awareness of the Prize among the media and the general public as far as possible and stimulate engagement of diverse audiences;

(ii) the measures proposed to make the support of the European Union visible in the promotional tools and during and after the award ceremony.

C. Impact on key stakeholders of the sector and relevant partners (20 points)

This criterion will assess:

(i) the proposed strategy to ensure optimal involvement and effective mobilization of key stakeholders of the relevant sector(s) with a view to further promoting the Prize within the sector(s), the proposed strategy to ensure effective mobilization of stakeholders and partners, including sponsors, with a view to linking the Prize and the winners with other relevant and highly visible initiatives thereby reaching new target groups in Europe and beyond and

(iii) the quality and creativity of the proposed cooperation with the sector and other relevant sectors through networking activities with a view to achieving a multiplier effect.

D. Effectiveness of the proposed methodology and organisation of the Prize (20 points)

This criterion will assess:

(i) The quality of the work plan and time schedule, including decision-making structures and the organisation of partnerships with the relevant sector;

(ii) The appropriateness of the human resources allocation;

(iii) The relevance and allocation of the budget22 with regard to the planned activities (only relevant for the evaluation of the 2018-2019 detailed work plan in view of the specific agreement).

The applications will be evaluated by an internal evaluation committee of the European Commission. A ranked list of applications will be established for those scoring at least:

- 70 points in total, and
- 20 points for criterion A,

- 20 points for criteria B
- 15 points for criteria C, - 15 points for criterion D.

The Commission will use this list when selecting the successful applicant for establishing this partnership agreement.

The award criteria found in this section (section 11) will be also used to assess the detailed annual work plans and their corresponding budgets in order to conclude specific agreements for an action grant under the partnership agreement.



In the event the application for framework partnership is selected, a framework partnership agreement detailing the conditions of cooperation will be sent to the applicant, as well as information on the procedure to formalise the agreement of the parties.



13.1 Eligible costs

Eligible costs shall meet all the following criteria:



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