Title of the call for project proposals


Call number



The Programme focuses on the role that culture and movable cultural heritage play as an engine for local and regional development by putting an accent on employment, social inclusion and entrepreneurship in the cultural sector.

The general objective of the Programme is to strengthen social and economic development through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management. To achieve this, the Programme will promote cultural entrepreneurship initiatives, the ultimate goal of which is to reduce economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area and to strengthen the relations between the Donor States – Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein – and the Republic of Bulgaria.

In order to enhance the exchange and cooperation between organizations from the Donor States and Bulgaria, the Programme Operator – the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture – partners with Arts Council - Norway for the implementation of the Programme.

The specific goal of Outcome 1 is to enhance cultural heritage management by supporting projects aimed at presenting cultural heritage in revitalized, restored and renovated spaces (Output 1.1) and by making cultural heritage objects digitally accessible (Output 1.2). Therefore, through this call the PO will select and support project proposals that best contribute to achieving Output 1.2 and are focused on one or more of the following thematic areas:

a) Items of cultural heritage made accessible through digitization;

b) Formation of digital laboratories by cultural operators;

c) Development of the capacity and expansion of the activities of already existing digital labs/centers, incl. those funded under Outcome 2 “Documenting the cultural history” of Programme BG08 “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Arts“, funded by the EEA FM 2009-2014.

Projects under this call will be evaluated and selected in three stages:

1.      Stage 1. Evaluation of the administrative compliance and eligibility of the applicant/partner.

2.      Stage 2. Technical and financial evaluation of the project proposals.

3.      Stage 3. Selection Committee issues a final list of projects to be supported.

Eligible applicants

- Eligible applicants are budgetary organizations within the meaning of §1, item 5 of the Additional Provisions of the Public Finance Act, established as legal persons on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria and whose principal activity is in the cultural and creative sectors (as defined in Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 establishing the Creative Europe Programme) including municipalities and regional administrations.

- The applicant should have the administrative, financial and operational capacity to implement the project.

-  Each applicant may submit only one project proposal under this call. In case an applicant has submitted more than one project proposal, only the last project proposal submitted within the deadline will be admitted for evaluation. All previous project proposals will be considered withdrawn.

Eligible partners

-  Eligible partners under this call are any non-commercial, public or private, entity and non-governmental organizations, established as a legal person in Bulgaria or in the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

-  Natural persons are not eligible project partners.

- Under this call, the partnership is desirable but not obligatory.

-  The PO will encourage projects which are based on partnerships between the applicants and partners from Bulgaria and the Donor States

-  A project application will be given additional points during the Technical and Financial Evaluation (TFE) stage for including a partner(s) from the Donor States.

-  There is no limit to the number of project partners and one partner can participate in more than one project proposal.

Requirements of eligibility

The projects under this call must correspond to the following mandatory requirements of eligibility:

a.      The activities provided for in the project proposals can be implemented on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria and in the case of a partnership – on the territory of the partner(s) from the Donor States.

b.      It is obligatory for the project proposals to simultaneously include activities related to the conversion of minimum 30,000 units cultural heritage value items in digital format for the first time, and activities related to the realization of minimum 1 digital exhibition.

c.      When conversion in digital format concerns elements of copyright which are still protected by the law, the applicant organization must acquire the relevant authorization. The settlement of the relevant copyrights is not an eligible cost. The settlement of the relevant copyrights is not required to be ready and acquired by the date of the submission of the project proposal.

d.      When converting to digital format affects a documentary archive, the admissible file formats must meet the eligibility requirements for file formats applicable to the type of site concerned, according to the “Practical guidelines for the long-term storage of electronic documents by administrative authorities” prepared by the Bulgarian State e-Government Agency.

e.      The project proposals must provide an activity for training of the expert personnel of the Project Promoter involved in the digitalization process in view of enhancing their professional competences and skills, in particular in relation to the implementation of one or more of the following activities:

-        effective process of digitalization and management of the digitalized elements of cultural heritage;

-        effective process of preparation, creation, metadata management with the information of the digitalized items;

-        effective migration process of the metadata that is part of the applicant's existing registers (applicable to applicants who have existing cultural heritage value items registers) in digital format;

-        storage of digitalized items of cultural heritage;

-        effective popularization process of the digitalized items.

f.       The project must include activities ensuring access to the relevant digitalized content.

g.      The project proposals must provide a concept of effective audience reach during the realization of a digital exhibition (cooperation with educational institutions and/or other initiatives).

h.      Any project proposal that provides for an investment in the purchase of fixed assets should include a project investment sustainability plan which will have a continuation period of the activities under the indicator “number of cultural heritage value items converted into digital format for the first time” of at least 5 years after the end of the project contract, and the applicant should provide sufficient resources to maintain the asset and its on-going work (“sustainability requirement” – see more information in item 15 of the Application Guidelines).

i.       Each project proposal must include an activity for the formation of a project management team, and each Project Promoter is directly responsible for the management of the project and for achieving quality implementation of the proposed activities (see more information in item 9, letter “i” of the application Guidelines).

j.       Each project proposals must include an activity for publicity and information on the objectives and the activities of the project as well as on the financial contribution of the EEA Grants, including the development of a bilingual (in Bulgarian and in English) web-page for the relevant project. The activity shall correspond to the criteria described in the Communication and Design Manual of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021 and to the ones set by the Regulation on the Implementation of the EEA FM 2014-2021.

k.      Each project proposal must include a risk analysis and it should be detailed by the applicant in the Application Form, Section 11 “Additional information necessary to assess the project proposal” (see more information in item 9, letter “k” of the Application Guidelines).


-  This Call does not allow approved projects to generate revenue.

-  If the project is implemented with a partner, then it is mandatory to include funding for the project partner, and this must be detailed in item 5 “Budget” in the Application Form (see more information in item 10 of the Application Guidelines).

-  Applicants under this Call do not have the right to submit project proposals if the proposals include products or results which have been already created/achieved or such which are in the process of implementation or such for which funding has been provided under another project, programme or any other funding scheme based on the national budget, the budget of the EU or on other donor programme. The project proposals can be related to upgrading the results achieved under the BG08 Programme of the EEA FM 2009-2014.

Ineligible for funding under this Call are activities which have started before the date of signing of the project contract.

-  The planned duration of each project in respect to the grant funding, including the including the activities provided for therein, cannot exceed 24 months.

-  The PO encourages activities related to training of professionals, ensuring access to the digitalized objects and involvement of the target groups[1] under the Outcome.

Deadline for submitting applications

-  Deadline for submitting project proposals: 16.06.2021 (5:30 PM - UTC+2)

-  Applicants who wish to participate under this Call must prepare and submit a project proposal by filling in the web-based Application Form with an electronic signature in the EUMIS 2020 system at

-  Before submitting project proposals, the applicants may request clarifications from the PO regarding the grant procedure by sending enquiries via e-mail at The questions can be asked no later than 21 days before the deadline for submission, and the clarifications will be published within 10 days of receipt of the questions, but no later than 14 days before the deadline for submission of project proposals.

-  A project proposal submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Selection process

-  The evaluation and the selection of the project proposals will be organized by the PO in three stages: 1) Administrative compliance and eligibility (ACE); 2) Technical and financial evaluation (TFE) and 3) Selection Committee (SC).

-  For the evaluation of the applications the PO establishes an Evaluation Commission that includes a non-voting Chairperson, non-voting Secretary and experts to carry out the ACE and TFE. For the TFE at least 50% of the assessing experts should be independent from the PO and the SC.

-  In case inaccuracies are detected, the Evaluation Commission will request the applicant to eliminate them only once, and it should be done within the period set by the Evaluation Commission of 7 working days. Failure to eliminate them is grounds for rejection of the project proposal.

-  Only project proposals that have passed the stage of administrative compliance are allowed to be assessed for eligibility.

-  Only project proposals that have passed the ACE stage are allowed to reach the TFE stage.

-  An applicant whose project proposal is rejected can submit a written objection to the Head of the PO within a week (7 calendar days) following the notification.

-  At the TFE stage the project proposal is assessed independently by 2 assessors, and each could score it with up to 100 points in their evaluation sheet. In order for a project proposal to be considered for funding, the average score from the 2 TFE assessors must be equal to or greater than 60 points.

-  During the TFE process, the Evaluation Commission can ask questions to the applicants if it finds circumstances that require further explanations on the budget regarding quantitative and/or value indicators of the proposed costs. The same circumstances can lead to a reduction of the budget of the project proposal.

-  For the selection of the project proposals the PO establishes a Selection Committee that reviews the list of the proposed for funding project proposals (in the order of their ranking and the size of the allocated funding), a list of reserve projects, list with the rejected project proposals and the reasons for their rejection, and a list of withdrawn project proposals (if any). The SC proposes the final list to the Head of the PO who takes the final decision.

Total budget of the Call


Maximum and minimum amount of grant per project

The maximum grant applied for should be €350,000

The minimum grant applied for should be €150,000

Project grant rate

The maximum grant rate is 100% of the total eligible expenditure of a project.

-  The Project Promoter has the right to an advance payment of up to 30% of the agreed project budget.

-  The total value of the advance and the interim payments shall not exceed 80% of the project’s budget as laid down in the project contract. The Programme Operator retains 20% of the agreed budget until the approval of the Project Promoter’s final report.

Duration of the projects

Up to 24 months, but not longer than 30 April 2024.

-  Expenditures incurred after 30 April 2024 will not be considered eligible.

Contacts for more information

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria

E-mail:, Tel. (+359) 2 9400 916.

 [1] See item 2.1 of the Application Guidelines.