European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)


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Our training programme on EU project writing

Helping you go European

Incubator is designed to support social innovation within our network and beyond, from the initial idea to the funding application. It aims to train and mentor mid-to-senior-level culture professionals aspiring to access European funds for culture. After completion of the programme, participants will have obtained:

  • Clear feedback and recommendations on how to implement their project successfully;

  • Tailored skills and competencies in European funding and project writing;

  • Their project incubated in 5D: all elements reviewed through the lens of high-level experts and peers;

  • An insider understanding of the EU project-evaluation process and criteria;

  • New connections with experts in European cultural cooperation and a diverse range of organisations from all over Europe;

  • Inspiring examples of the use of European funds for international cultural and artistic cooperation and how this cooperation can benefit local communities and territories.

Watch the Incubator video to get a glimpse of what the programme is about

A programme in four phases

Phase 1: Application

Applicants present an idea for a project that fits within one of the following funding frameworks: Creative Europe; Erasmus+; Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs; Interreg; Europe for Citizens. In this phase, the applicant presents a project idea with already identified partners. The applicant is also expected to outline the objectives and outputs, the impact the project aims to achieve, and to prove its European dimension.

Phase 2: Selection of project bearers/preparation

After the application deadline, our advising team assesses the projects submitted. Shortly after the selection announcement, a brief virtual session with experts helps selected candidates structure their project, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what further development is necessary. Selected candidates then have about two months to flesh out their projects before the mentoring retreat.

Phase 3: Mentoring retreat

Selected project bearers arrive with a detailed draft of their projects, including a timeline and objectives and confirmed partners. During three days, they enjoy one-to-one and group mentoring sessions by a panel of highly qualified and experienced experts. The retreat also features moments of peer-to-peer exchange, study visits and of course networking.

Phase 4: Project development

After the retreat, project bearers have one to two months to identify what type of funding they want to apply for, and five to nine months, depending on the type of project, for further project development. They stay in contact with their mentors all along this phase. A one-hour virtual meeting will help them get final feedback about their project. After this phase, participants are ready to submit their applications.

Applications for Incubator 2024 are now closed, except for participants from the Italian regions of Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta and Liguria, who can apply until July 15th, 2024.

  • Is Incubator only for ENCC members?

    No, it is open to all. ENCC members (including members of members) have priority in he selection process, but non-members are very welcome to apply.

  • What will I learn during the event?

    You will have an opportunity to create a network for your cooperation projects, This event will be very much focused on international cooperation and will bring together very diverse actors representing many cultural and artistic organisations. This is a very unique opportunity to connect with people who want to bring their work on an international level and who are looking for inspiration, experience and networking. You will receive very specific training from our experts on how to tailor your project so that it becomes more likely to get European funding. Experts have theoretical knowledge but also hands-on experience with project writing and will share with you many practical tips and tricks for making successful cooperation projects. So, all in all, you will get:

- Clear project feedback and recommendations to implement it successfully;

- Your project incubated in 5D: all elements reviewed in a zoom, reflected, rethought and reviewed through the lens of high level experts and peers;

- A network of diverse European cooperation oriented cultural experts and organisations (artistic, cultural, academics, cities etc.);

- Inspiring examples of the use of European funds for international cultural and artistic cooperation and how this cooperation can benefit local activities;

- Stories of some of the most successful organisations from Serbia in EU grants and ideas on other grant programs of those organisations and other benefits they might offer;

- Tailored skills and competencies on European funding and project writing;

- The chance to establish new partnerships with organisations from all over Europe.

  • Which are the eligible countries?

    Eligibility varies according to the funding programme you choose to apply for, please check below:

    - Creative Europe;

    - Erasmus+;

    - Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs;

    - Interreg;

    - CERV (Citizenship, Equality, Rights and Values programme) – the new programme replacing E4C.

  • How long will I need to be away from work?

    Four full days.

  • What kinds of projects are NOT right for Incubator?

    - Projects that do not address social and cultural concerns;

    - Projects only between two partners and not open to others;

    - Projects at a very initial stage of preparation;

    - Projects that will not contribute to more cohesive and inclusive societies, promote common European values, foster participation and social integration, or enhance intercultural understanding and a sense of belonging to a community;

    - Projects that will not really benefit from the international dimension;

    - Projects that do not correspond to European funding criteria;

    - Projects that have been already submitted and not selected to one of the European funds;

    - Projects not eligible according to the criteria of the European programmes (e.g in terms of eligible countries etc).

  • How many partners will I need?

    Projects should bring together at least three partners from three different EU member countries.

  • Which is the targeted European funding programme?

    Incubator provides expertise on projects related to the following programmes: Creative Europe, Erasmus plus, Erasmus for Entrepreneurship, Interreg, CERV (previous Europe for Citizens). If a special focus on environment and sustainability is present in the project, LIFE could also be considered.

  • Can I apply if my organisation has no previous experience with European funding?

    Yes, but you need to explain how your project will contribute to more cohesive and inclusive societies, promote common European values, foster participation and social integration, enhance intercultural understanding and a sense of belonging to a community, and how the international dimension will contribute to your project.

  • Do you accept applications from the UK?

    UK applicants can apply, but since their participation in the framework of the 2021-2027 funding programme is limited, and mostly restricted to being partners in projects, they should be able to show clearly the relevance of their participation in Incubator.

  • Do you plan to organise additional study visits to cultural organisations in Valletta before or after the training?

    The host of the 2024 edition Spazju Kreattiv will inform about additional cultural activities that are planned before or after the programme. For instance on October 5th, there will be the “white night” with many museums opening their doors all night long. The ENCC cannot cover additional costs such as accommodation and catering related to a prolonged stay.

  • Should I apply for Incubator if I don't have time to work on my project between now and October?

    Yes. Selected applicants will develop their project and identify their partners after meeting in Valletta, so they need to have time to spend on that after the intensive workshop in October.

  • What languages will be used in the Incubator programme?

    English is the working language.

  • Will you read and edit my application?

    Please note that trainers will not work on writing or editing your application.

  • Will you check my project’s budget?

    Trainers can give advice on a budget but will not revise it nor write it for you.

  • Where can I apply?

    To apply for Incubator 2024, go here.

  • Can I apply to Incubator with a project that was not selected the previous time?


  • Can I participate in the training virtually?

    No, it is mandatory to participate in person. If you can’t attend due to unforeseen circumstances, you can relegate someone else from your organisation.

  • Can other members of the team join me virtually?

    Yes, it is even recommended to invite other partners to join the process virtually and work as a team, especially after one-to-one sessions.

  • Do you organise transport to the meeting?

    No, the ENCC does not organise your trip to Valletta. You are asked to organise it yourself. You will be (partly) reimbursed by us afterwards after sending us your invoices and boarding passes.

  • Do you allow the participation of more than one person per organisation in the project fair/consultancy retreat?

    No, the number of places for this event is restricted. We invite one person per project: other members of the team are advised to join online when feasible.