Multi-year European research programme for arts and humanities

Earth showing the UK at night from the International Space Station (ISS) with France and Holland in the foreground.

A new European research and innovation programme is heading into its second year, offering many opportunities for UK researchers in the arts and humanities.

A seven-year European research and innovation programme called Horizon Europe launched last year (2021). Including 93 million euros of funding in 2022 for research into cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries.

Horizon Europe is open to participation to all kinds of organisations, be it:

  • universities
  • industry
  • charities
  • museums
  • civil society
  • government departments.

To help solve the challenges arising from the pandemic, the programme provides unprecedented opportunities for cultural and creative sectors and industries, such as:

  • galleries
  • archives
  • libraries
  • heritage organisations
  • archaeological units
  • others.

The UK has made clear its wish to associate to Horizon Europe, meaning that UK entities can continue to access European funding.

And it gets even better. The UK has historically been very successful in European funding, with UK organisations taking part in projects over 16,000 times (including 2,800 times by UK small and medium-sized enterprises) in the previous programme, Horizon 2020 (2014 to 2020).

In social sciences and humanities specifically, €111.5 million of funding was awarded to the UK (11% of the total funding in this programme area). There were 337 participations by organisations in the UK.

Opportunities for arts and humanities researchers

Student looking at artifacts in a case on a trip to the museum.

Credit: monkeybusinessimages, Getty Images

Interested but unsure of where to get started? The majority of funding for advancing scientific knowledge in the arts and humanities falls under Cluster 2: ‘Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society’.

This cluster funds collaborative, challenge-led research to safeguard and promote cultural heritage and support the cultural and creative sectors.

Parts of this cluster also focus on democracy and governance, and social and economic transformations.

But it doesn’t stop here: the expertise of researchers from arts and humanities will be required in every part of the programme. This will be to effectively address a number of societal challenges and to increase the societal impact of research.

The other research cluster themes with upcoming calls for proposals are:

How do I find out more?

If you decide to explore these opportunities further, you should familiarise yourself with the term ‘work programme’. Every two years the European Commission publishes work programmes that detail each funding opportunity.

The 2021 to 2022 Cluster 2 work programme (PDF, 1MB) provides more information about current opportunities.

Almost €100 million of funding is available for cluster 2 projects in the cultural and creative area in 2022. If you’re not quite ready to take advantage of these opportunities, there will be more funding and more research calls in the remaining five years of the seven-year funding programme.

Opportunities will also be in other parts of Horizon Europe outside of the clusters (including some funding open to all research and innovation areas).

How to find support

The European funding instruments are not the easiest to get your head around. This is why a team of about 20 National Contact Points (NCPs) have been appointed by the UK government to help you apply to Horizon Europe funding opportunities.

We provide a free helpdesk service and can answer questions about any aspect of Horizon Europe funding, including:

  • navigating funding opportunities and choosing where to apply
  • finding partners (for most Horizon Europe projects you would apply as part of an international consortium of organisations from at least three different countries)
  • proposal preparation and the application process
  • administration and finance questions.

Want to keep up with the latest European social science, arts and humanities events, news and funding opportunities? Then sign up to the cluster 2 mailing list by emailing a request to ccisncp@esrc.ukri.org

New to European funding and want a comprehensive introduction to how the programme works? This YouTube webinar on Horizon Europe for the cultural and creative sectors may be for you.

Other Horizon Europe opportunities

Horizon Europe is a huge programme, and you won’t run out of interesting initiatives. I’m highlighting another two recently launched opportunities in the arts and humanities space:

  • the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has launched a call for a new Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) focusing on the Cultural & Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI). This EIT KIC aims to support these sectors and industries and create new opportunities for innovation, education, business creation and acceleration
  • the New European Bauhaus initiative connects the European Green Deal to our living spaces. It calls on all Europeans to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls. The funding for this initiative will come from several EU financing instruments. Many opportunities are already open.
Huge new office buildings in singapores city center.

Credit: chriss73, Getty Images

Want to:

  • access the funding opportunities
  • solve grand research challenges
  • collaborate with leading organisations from around the world
  • influence research policy and access cutting edge technologies, infrastructure and talent?

If that sounds like something you’d like to get involved with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Contact the UK National Contact Point via email: ccisncp@esrc.ukri.org
Follow the UK National Contact Point on Twitter

Additional information

In the event that the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe, the UK government has guaranteed to pay successful applicants in many schemes. Details can be found at: Horizon Europe guarantee notice and guidance.

Top image:  Credit: MarcelC, Getty Images

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.