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Call key data

A European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage – Innovative tools for high-value interactions with visitors and heritage objects

Funding Program

Horizon Europe - Cluster 2 - Destination 2: Innovative research on the European cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries

Call number




22.01.2025 17:00

Funding rate

70% (NPO:100%)

Call budget

€ 8,000,000.00

Estimated EU contribution per project

between € 3,000,000.00 and € 4,000,000.00

Link to the call

Link to the submission

Call content

short description

This topic aims at developing and implementing a set of innovative tools and methods on the European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage (ECCCH) for high-quality interactions with visitors and cultural heritage objects. Concrete applications of these tools and methods should be provided for at least the following uses: 1) Creating, sharing and re-using interactive content; 2) Analysing, designing and testing interactions with visitors.

Call objectives

Creating, sharing and re-using interactive content

Cultural heritage institutions regularly produce interactive content; for visitors to facilitate the comprehension of the exhibits on display, to entertain them or for research purposes. The platform used to deploy the content may be a simple interactive presentation device (e.g. a PC, a tablet or a mobile app) or more sophisticated immersive devices (large screens, VR rooms, head-mounted displays, specific interaction languages and related devices, etc.).

The common practice in creating interactive content at cultural heritage institutions is single theme – single institution – no cooperation. This approach makes production costs high, often prohibitively high, since the content is designed from scratch and presented only to a limited audience.

The challenge is to popularise and democratise the production and use of interactive content for cultural heritage. Innovation based on the ECCCH should make this possible.

The tools and methods developed should include an easy-to-use authoring system, designed for a community of users which may not be able to master fully-fledged commercial authoring systems. Resources should be developed to facilitate the creation of content and the adoption of a cooperative approach that enables the reuse of components and previous productions. The tools developed should be capable of supporting the entire value chain, including for instance freelancers and small companies, educational institutions, non-profits, etc.

The tools should support creation of multimedia content on top of basic components by using digital data in the ECCCH and as appropriate from other platforms, such as the Common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage. Using existing components should reduce the digitisation costs of interactive media productions, since a considerable part of the required models and images will already be available.

The tools should allow re-using portions of content contributed to the ECCCH by other partners. The ECCCH support for explicit tracking of data (re-)use will be key. Data on provenance and reuse of the digital assets should be acknowledged and maintained.

The tools should also offer the capability to adapt the presentation to more sophisticated contexts, such as non-immersive systems mixing 3D models with high quality visual interfaces and metadata and videos, virtual reality settings providing a strong immersive experience, or virtual worlds/metaverse environments.

Produced content should be deployable seamlessly on interactive kiosks in exhibition spaces and on web-based platforms, allowing to break the physical walls of the institution and widening the potential audience. Its metadata should allow the produced content to be shared also on other European platforms and data spaces.

Analysing, designing and testing interactions with visitors

A common task in cultural heritage is to evaluate if the design of an exhibition – in a real or digital space – is functional and sufficiently impactful and meaningful for the audience. Common queries may include how people move around, which specific content they pay attention to, if they are able to appreciate the exhibits in a proper manner, which areas are most crowded, which points are of more or less interest, etc.

Also, designing an exhibition is a complex task encompassing many activities related to the 3D space and visitors’ perceptions, such as subdivisions of the exposition space, planning the visiting path, distribution of the exhibits and of didactic materials, lighting setup, etc.

A 3D representation of the exposition space is a basic resource for both types of actions. While architectural CAD tools may in some cases provide support, these are often prohibitively complex and do not correspond well to the needs of the cultural heritage sector.

For this use, projects funded under this topic should develop tools and methods for designing and providing simulated and real data mapping over an exposition. Focus should be on the specific needs of cultural heritage professionals, and on the ease of use.

The tools should be capable of generating preliminary assessments based on digital mock-ups, and assessments based on real physical spaces. Digital mock-ups of an exposition space could be navigated with interactive or virtual reality equipment, while specific equipment would be needed to gather data on users’ navigation and interaction with a real physical space.

The tools should also allow to design an exposition space, introducing separations, openings and pedestals etc. which allow creating a planned path, and smaller spaces inside larger physical exposition spaces, positioning the exhibits and setting a proper illumination.

The tools should support collaborative work and sharing of resources and results through the ECCCH.

With a view to use resources efficiently and go beyond the state of the art, projects funded under this topic should, where appropriate, build on previous existing research, methods and solutions. Proposals should therefore ensure that existing tools and methods and their potential (re-)use are properly examined.

Ease of use for the target users is of paramount importance. Therefore, tools and methods should be developed in close collaboration with actively involved representative target users. Furthermore, tools and methods should be thoroughly tested and verified with a significant number of users before the end of the project. Financial support to third parties may be used to facilitate the engagement with users. The financial support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants.

In order to facilitate the access for less well-equipped users, the developed software tools should to the extent possible be accessible online without requiring installation nor special or particularly powerful equipment. Also, the developed software tools should to the extent appropriate be designed to allow use and avoid loss of work in situations with unstable or limited connectivity.

Projects funded under this topic should demonstrate the potential of the developed tools and methods through representative case studies, conducted in collaboration with relevant users. These case studies should cover a significant share of the range of cultural heritage objects, materials and issues that the tools and methods intend to address. The results of these case studies should produce information that can serve as models for promoting the re-use of the tools and methods in other contexts and by other users within, and where appropriate beyond, the ECCCH.

Proposals should, furthermore, foresee appropriate resources to provide clear information and elaborate targeted training modules for users of the developed tools and methods.

The tools to be developed should be implemented using the low-level libraries established by the project funded under topic HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-ECCCH-01-01. The tools developed should be compliant with the design of the ECCCH, and should be integrated with the ECCCH before the end of the project, together with proper documentation. All software and other related deliverables should be compliant with the data model and the software development guidelines elaborated by the project funded under topic HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-ECCCH-01-01. If appropriate these tools should be developed with a view to a wider deployment, including in the Common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage, as well as, when appropriate, for reuse via the European Open Science Cloud. Furthermore, content produced by these tools for the ECCCH should be interoperable for sharing, when appropriate, via the Common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage and/or the European Open Science Cloud.

Proposals should furthermore make provisions to actively participate in the common activities of the ECCCH initiative. In particular, projects funded under this topic should coordinate technical work with projects funded under other call topics of the ECCCH initiative, and contribute to the activities and objectives of the project funded under the topic HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-ECCCH-01-01. Proposals should include a budget for the attendance to regular joint coordination meetings, and may consider covering the costs of any other joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage.

Projects funded under this topic should moreover set up their project websites under the common ECCCH website, managed by the project funded under topic HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-ECCCH-01-01.

Furthermore, the Commission expects projects funded under this topic to establish regular coordination mechanisms in order to ensure synchronised planning as well as synergy and/or complementarity of deliverables and outcomes.

The Commission recommends considering reporting periods of 12 months when elaborating proposals.

Please also refer to the Destination introduction text to consider some key characteristics of the vision for the ECCCH.

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Expected results

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • The European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage (ECCCH) is widely used by European cultural heritage professionals and researchers for creating, sharing and re-using interactive content for high-quality interactions with visitors and cultural heritage objects.
  • The ECCCH is widely used by European cultural heritage professionals and researchers in the planning, simulation and design of real and virtual exposition spaces.
  • The ECCCH is widely used by European cultural heritage professionals and researchers in the analysis of the effective use of real and virtual exposition spaces, incorporating innovative virtual presentation tools and visitor tracking technologies.
  • European cultural heritage professionals and researchers are provided with clear information as well as targeted training modules on the innovative tools and methods developed.

Eligibility Criteria

Regions / countries for funding

EU Member States, Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Iceland (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom

eligible entities

Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)

Mandatory partnership


Project Partnership

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:

  • the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
  • the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
  • third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries

Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:

  • 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.

Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.

A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
  • Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
  • Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
  • EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
  • Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
  • Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.

other eligibility criteria

If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used). 

Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.

Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties to cultural heritage institutions, in take-up of tools, technologies and for populating and validating the relevant use cases through experiments. A maximum of 15% of the budget may be dedicated to financial support to third parties. The maximum amount to be granted to each third party is EUR 60 000. Beneficiaries will be subject to these additional requirements on outputs: All software developed should be open source, licensed under a CC0 public domain dedication or under an open-source licence as recommended by the Free Software Foundation and the Open-Source Initiative. If the use of open source software components would require disproportional efforts or significantly diminish the quality or performance of the software, proprietary components may be used provided that: an open functional replacement is available; they do not introduce proprietary data formats or Application Programming Interfaces; a full user license free of charge for an unlimited period of time is granted to the consortium responsible for the ECCCH and all its users.

Additional information


Arts & Culture, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, 
Digitalisation, Digital Society, ICT

Relevance for EU Macro-Region

EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region

UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)

Additional Information

All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.

Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
  • Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.

Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).

The limit for a full application (Part B) is 60 pages.


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