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Funding agencies

French national and European funding agencies by Gaëlle Béquet, international officer, École nationale des chartes (France)


French national and European funding agencies


All French higher education institutions have been asked by governmental authorities to prepare regular reports on activities prior to receiving public funding. In France, higher education institutions must report every year to the Ministry of Education, negotiate their funding every four years and sign a pluri-annual contract defining objectives and means.

They are also strongly encouraged to look for other sources of funding, like the various calls for proposals issued by funding agencies, e.g. Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR), EGIDE, European Commission.

In the past few years, the École nationale des chartes has answered several of these proposals with mitigated results.

In 2006, the CNRS helped to create 5 centres for digital resources :

 CRDO : Centre de ressources pour la description de l’oral (

CNRTL: Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales (

TELMA: Traitement ÉLectronique des Manuscrits et des Archives  (

M2IAS: Méthodologies de Modélisation de l’Information Spatiale Appliquées (

CN2SV: Centre National pour la Numérisation de Sources Visuelles (


The École nationale des chartes (ENC), together with the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT), created TELMA which was awarded a lump sum to start with.

To maintain and develop TELMA, ENC and IRHT submitted a new project to Adonis, a funding agency of the CNRS, in Dec 2007. Adonis’ aims are :

-         to work with institutions that fund and manage social sciences and humanities research,
to digitize research archives in these fields,
to publish research journals online.

Some funds have been allocated to the project for 2008.

The French Agence nationale de la recherche was created in August 2006. It launches yearly calls for proposals in various research fields, mostly in biology, sustainable development, sustainable energies and the environment, engineering and information technologies. It supports research grants and fellowships.

In March 2007, a call for proposals focused on corpuses and tools for research in social sciences and humanities. ENC submitted a proposal whose aim was to create an online dictionary of medieval Latin. As this project was not selected, ENC has decided to fund this project on its own resources. Part of this dictionary will be online in Feb. 2008.

Egide is a funding agency dependant upon the French Ministry of Foreign affairs.

It supports bilateral cooperation and provides funding for travel and subsistence allowances for scholars and advanced students who carry on an international research project.

Bilateral calls for proposals are organised every year: Amadeus for French-Austrian cooperation, Alliance for French-British cooperation, Van Gogh for French-Dutch cooperation, and Tournesol for French-Belgian cooperation

Projects are submitted simultaneously by the French and the foreign partner institutions.

ENC answered a call for proposals with the University of Sienna (Italy). Some subsidies were provided by the French and the Italian governments to support a two-week seminar about text digitisation. The proceedings of this seminar will be published in 2008 on the websites of the two participating institutions.


European calls for proposals

The programme Culture 2000 (from 2000 to 2006) supported multi-annual projects related to cultural heritage such as Rinascimento Virtuale - Digitale Palimpsestforschung (archives) led by the Universität Hamburg (DE),, virtual archive of Central European monasteries and dioceses, led by the Institut zur Erschließung und Erforschung kirchlicher Quellen (AT), Archives of European archeology led by the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (FR).

The new Culture 2007-2013 programme focuses on cooperation between various organisations such as theatres, museums, professional associations, research centres, universities, cultural institutes and public authorities.

It supports 3 types of action : cultural actions (strand 1), support for European cultural bodies (strand 2), support for analyses and dissemination activities (strand 3)


The European Commission funds 50 % of the total cost of the projects and supports :

- Projects lasting from three to five years (multi-annual cooperation projects involving at least 6 cultural operators from 6 different countries, funding 200 000 to 500 000 € /year) 

- Projects lasting up to two years (Cooperation measures involving at least 3 cultural operators, funding 50 000 to 200 000 /year)

- Special measures (like the annual European Capital of culture or a European Union Prize for literature)

This new programme has specific objectives :

− supporting the trans-national mobility of people working in the cultural sector;

− encouraging the transnational circulation of artistic and cultural works and artefacts;

− encouraging intercultural dialogue.

In 2005, the European Parliament and the Council approved the eContentplus Programme, a multi-annual programme to make digital content in Europe more accessible, usable and exploitable.

•         4-year programme (2005–08)

•         a budget of € 149 million

•         geographic content (as a key constituent of public sector content),

•         educational content,

•         digital libraries (cultural, scientific and scholarly content),

•         EU-wide co-ordination of collections in libraries, museums and archives,

•         preservation of digital collections.


Together with Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, Ludwig Maximilian Universität (München), Università degli studi di Pavia and Monasterium, ENC submitted a proposal in 2006. The experts did not give a mark high enough for the project to receive partial funding.

Porta Historica could prepare a proposal for the next eContentplus call for proposals, due 2008.

Gaëlle Béquet, international officer, École nationale des chartes (France)