European cultural heritage and creativity for a better society

Cultural heritage is the expression of our way of living including values, behaviours, customs, practices, places, objects and artistic expressions that are transmitted from one generation to the next.

Safeguarding and valorisation of our cultural heritage is a key European policy priority that needs solid research to produce evidence for future policy making. This will be done using innovative approaches in cooperation with creative stakeholders.

The cultural and creative sectors are major drivers of innovation, growth, job creation and social development. The resilience, cohesion and innovative potential of European societies are strongly linked to cultural heritage and the arts.

It is also important to improve access to and engagement with our cultural and artistic assets and build on collective constructions of past and present realities.

In times of crisis (such as the coronavirus pandemic) the cultural and creative sector can become the driver of resilience and post-crisis revival. Museums, cultural institutions, artists and creators, will need to be the agents of a truly holistic and inclusive revival.

Research and innovation funding in cultural heritage

Current funding

Cultural heritage is an important strategic area of European research and innovation.

Under the current research and innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020, more than €500 million has been invested on actions that

  • develop tools and methodologies for preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage
  • protect endangered heritage from illicit trafficking
  • foster access to cultural heritage through digital means
  • promote cultural tourism for regional socio-economic development
  • strengthen cooperation between museums and heritage sites

Investment also helped to improve coordination between national research policies in the field and to foster networking between local communities, citizens and creative stakeholders.

Future funding under Horizon Europe

In the next research and innovation funding programme beginning in 2021, Horizon Europe all activities will be streamlined through a specific intervention area, under Cluster 2 of the programme, Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society.

Having a dedicated section for cultural heritage means that the sector can be dealt with in a holistic fashion that encompasses tangible, intangible heritage, arts and creative sectors.


ReportMay 2018Research and Innovation

Horizon 2020 cultural heritage and European identities

List of projects 2014-2017

Innovation in cultural heritage research

Past, present and future of democracy

Solidarity in Europe

Bridge over troubled waters?

Project policy briefs

SSH research projects publish policy briefs while they are active. Briefs related to culture and citizenship are listed below. 

Advancing the European Multilingual Experience

December 2018 | October 2018 | June 2018 | March 2018

Analysis and Enhancement of an Anti-corruption Tool. To Enable Better Informed and Effective Citizens Participation in Europe.

September 2013

Social Platform on Cultural Heritage and European Identities

July 2017 | June 2017 | June 2017 | June 2017

Cultural Opposition: Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in the Former Socialist Countries

January 2019

INTERnational COoperation in the SSH: Comparative Socio-Historical Perspectives and Future Possibilities

April 2017 | September 2016 | March 2016

MEditerranean MOntainous LAndscapes: an historical approach to cultural heritage based on traditional agrosystems

December 2016 | November 2015

Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe

September 2018 | November 2017

Renewal, Innovation and Change: Heritage and European Society.

The main objective of RICHES is to reduce the distance between people and culture, recalibrating the relationship between heritage professionals and heritage users in order to maximise cultural creativity.

April 2016: PB-1PB-2PB-3PB-4
March 2016 | June 2015 | July 2015 | August 2015