HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-01-08: Cultural and creative approaches for gender-responsive STEAM education

  • Action type: Research and Innovation Actions
  • Opening date: 14 December 2022
  • Closing time: 14 March 2023 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
  • Budget per project: € 3 000 000 of total € 9 000 000
  • Estimated number of projects funded: 3
  • Official website


Women have long played an important, but often unacknowledged role in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and while the demand for STEM-skills in the labour market is growing to meet the green and digital transitions, women risk losing out on these opportunities due to their underrepresentation in these fields . Similarly, whilst women are overall well represented in many cultural professions, certain cultural and creative sectors which demand more digital and technological skills, such as the gaming and filming industry, still see a stark underrepresentation of women in these fields, as well as persisting gender stereotypes in the content that is produced.

In order to improve girls’ participation and interest in these fields from an early age, a STEAM approach, featuring creative thinking, and a scientific evidence-based approach, applied arts (the “A” in STEAM), and the teaching of science in political, environmental, socio-cultural contexts, can prove particularly useful. By highlighting the social impact and market relevance of research and innovation, the interdisciplinary STEAM approach can strengthen the appeal of scientific and technological careers, and make new products, including from the CCIs, more gender sensitive.

The action should establish a coordination network between the CCIs, technological enterprises, SMEs, secondary and higher education institutions, and other relevant organisations, including digital citizen platforms to develop a better understanding of the potential benefits of cultural and artistic approaches in traditional STEM education, research and innovation. This includes examining the effects of such approaches on competitiveness, gender equality, and talent recruitment and retention in STEM-driven innovation, including in CCIs, where women are underrepresented. The network should provide mutual learning opportunities and develop evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and relevant organisations, wishing to adopt a STEAM approach. It should also offer decision-makers and persons in leadership positions training on the aspects that hinder the presence and promotion of women in STE(A)M, including stereotypes and double standards, gender-based violence (including sexual harassment), as well as successful strategies in preventing and overcoming these occurrences.
In addition, in line with the European Strategy for Universities and the Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027, the coordination network should engage female students in learner-driven experiences in cultural and creative sectors, such as the gaming, filming and music industry, to strengthen their digital skills and broaden their interest in STEM-related skills.

The network should develop a pilot for an “EU STEAM week for future women innovators”, together with science and technology museums, secondary and higher education institutions, relevant organisations from civil society, digital citizen platforms and the cultural and creative industries. Activities during this week should focus on exploring and learning about science history, STEAM-related skills, and new technologies, like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, through interdisciplinary and creative approaches. The week should engage at least 4000 students aged 11-18 across EU Member States and Associated Countries. Activities should be open to all genders and the participation of girls from minority, socially disadvantaged and rural backgrounds is particularly encouraged.
Proposals should develop strategies for reproducibility and sustainability of the activities towards new skills’ learning pathways, including through the creation of networks for the participants and follow-up training courses (e.g. summer schools, mentoring, and intersectoral exchange programs).


Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
• A coordination network between organisations from the cultural and creative industries (CCIs), civil society, technological enterprises, secondary and higher education institutions and digital citizen platforms to foster the uptake of artistic, cultural and social science approaches in STEM education, research and innovation.
• Increased understanding about the benefits of integrating artistic, cultural and social science approaches in STEM education, research and innovation and its impact on competitiveness, gender equality and career perspectives.
• Pilot for the first European Union “STE(A)M week for future women innovators” together with science and technology museums, technological enterprises, secondary and higher education institutions, CCIs and relevant civil society organisations, engaging at least 4000 students in STEM educational activities through cultural and creative approaches.
• STEAM skills development and increased interest in new technologies, including those applied to cultural value chains and cultural heritage, to bridge the gender gap.

Activities may build on outcomes of relevant projects, funded under earlier Framework Programmes (e.g. Equals-EU, shemakes.eu, HYPATIA and Scientix 4) , results funded under the call HORIZON-CL2-2021-HERITAGE-01-03 and HORIZON-CL2-2022-HERITAGE-01-09, as well as relevant results from Erasmus+ projects and Creative Europe.

Important note: Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum as defined in the Decision of 7 July 2021 authorising the use of lump sum contributions under the Horizon Europe Programme – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027) – and in actions under the Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2021-2025).*

*This decision is available on the Funding and Tenders Portal, in the reference documents section for Horizon Europe, under ‘Simplified costs decisions’ or through this link: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/horizon/guidance/ls-decision_he_en.pdf

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