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Guidelines for Applicants Innovation & Society

The Arts Council’s criteria for support as well as information about the procedures for submitting an application and the deadlines are contained in the Guidelines for applicants.

1. General conditions

Status: January 2020

Pro Helvetia promotes thematic projects with a view to fostering both the diversity and the national and international reach of such undertakings. It supports innovative cultural projects that stimulate discourse in Switzerland on current, socially and culturally relevant themes and are likely to provide fresh impetus. As a national foundation, Pro Helvetia complements the promotional activities of Switzerland’s cantons and municipalities and supports projects of transregional, national and international importance.

To qualify for support from Pro Helvetia, projects must

  • have a clear connection with Switzerland;
  • be of interest to Switzerland as a whole;
  • be publicly accessible;
  • be adequately co-funded by other public or private sponsors.

2. Scope of promotion

2.1 Contributions

2.1.1 Projects and events on cultural themes and issues concerning Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports projects and events on current, socially and culturally relevant themes in Switzerland and their dissemination throughout Switzerland and internationally.

Types of projects eligible for support:

    • Thematic projects and events that provide a new and contemporary perspective on socially relevant cultural issues.
    • Second and third representations of outstanding Swiss projects on current, socially and culturally relevant themes that are prepared for dissemination to other linguistic and cultural communities in Switzerland or abroad.
    • The participation of outstanding artists and cultural professionals at international specialist events on themes and questions of current social and cultural relevance, which are also relevant for Switzerland.

2.1.2 Publications and translations

At the request of publishers, Pro Helvetia contributes to the costs of printing current, socially and culturally relevant publications on Switzerland written by outstanding Swiss authors.

At the request of Swiss or international publishers, Pro Helvetia contributes to covering the fees for translating current, socially and culturally relevant publications with a thematic reference to Switzerland.

Factsheet Promotion of thematic publications

3. Exclusions

Pro Helvetia is unable to grant funding if:

  • the same part of a project is already supported by other federal institutions;
  • the project is part of either a school or university curriculum or basic and further training (including dissertations, diploma projects, higher education scholarships, etc.);
  • funding is intended to cover infrastructure or equipment costs or the operational costs of cultural institutions, archives or collections;
  • the project does not depend on financial support.

Pro Helvetia’s Innovation & Society Sector is unable to consider funding applications for:

  • self-published works or paid publications;
  • contributions to printing costs for translations of thematic publications; specialist books, scientific publications and congresses, conference proceedings, secondary literature, commemorative and anniversary publications, collection of papers or journalistic articles;
  • moderations;
  • private viewings and organised promotional tours;
  • collections, archive and library exhibitions as well as school and university exhibitions.

4. Dossier contents

An application to Pro Helvetia must contain the following items:Funding applications submitted to Pro Helvetia must contain:

  • detailed concept describing the form and content of the project;
  • place and date of exhibition openings (including duration), events or printing;
  • details on the professional qualifications of the project participants;
  • further relevant documents (e.g. press and media coverage of previous projects);
  • budget and financial including the amount of funding requested from Pro Helvetia.

Applications for thematic publications must also include:

  • complete typescript and author’s publishing agreement.

Applications for translations of thematic publications must include:

  • license and translation agreement, a significant portion of the copy-edited translation manuscript and the corresponding original text.

Applications must be submitted via myprohelvetia.ch.

5. Application deadlines and time until decision is taken

Decisions on applications will be taken within the following deadlines:

Application typeApplication deadline / Processing timeBeginning of event or Date of printing
Applications of up to CHF 25'000 ongoing, at the latest eight weeks before the beginning of the event or the date of printing / 8 weeks
Applications between CHF 25'001 to 50'000 ongoing, at the latest four months before the beginning of the event or the date of printing / 4 months
Applications over CHF 50'0001 September / 4 monthsfrom 1 January
1 December / 4 monthsfrom 1 April
1 March / 4 monthsfrom 1 July
1 June / 4 monthsfrom 1 October

6. Processing of applications

6.1 Pre-assessment

Funding applications are only considered if:

  • the project meets the general funding requirements (see Section 1);
  • no grounds for exclusion exist (see Section 3);
  • the application is complete and has been submitted on time (see Sections 4 and 5)

6.2 Qualitative evaluation

Pro Helvetia assesses whether

  • the project convincingly meets the required high cultural and professional quality standards;
  • the project is executed in accordance with professional standards;
  • the costs are proportionate to the expected impact;
  • the project is likely to have a long-term impact.

6.3 Decision-making bodies

In the case of multi-year support agreements, the amount of funding per year is decisive.

  • Applications of up to CHF 50’000: Funding decisions are taken by the Sector Innovation & Society.
  • Applications over CHF 50’000: Funding decisions are taken by the director on recommendation of the Committee of Experts.

6.4 Notification of a decision

A decision is communicated without detailed reasons being given. On receipt of the decision, applicants can demand an official decision statement from Pro Helvetia against which an appeal can be lodged.

6.5 Obligations of recipients of support from Pro Helvetia

A pledge of support by Pro Helvetia places certain obligations on the applicants. If the applicants do not fulfil these obligations, Pro Helvetia is entitled to reduce the amount of support accordingly or demand a refund of support payments already made.

Factsheet for Grant Recipients

6.6 Disbursement

Pro Helvetia makes the support payments only after a final report, including the accounts, has been examined. Advance payments are possible on request. Unless the applicants notify Pro Helvetia of any delays, funding expires at the latest one year after the project’s closing date specified in the application dossier. If no closing date has been specified, Pro Helvetia sets deadlines itself.

6.7 Appeals

Decision statements from Pro Helvetia can be appealed within 30 days of the date of receipt. The appeals must be lodged with the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). An appeal must include the original application as well as the reasons for the appeal, including appropriate evidence, and must be signed by the appellant. The decision statement being appealed against needs to be enclosed as evidence. Appellants bear the costs of this procedure.

Appeals are to be submitted to:
CH-9023 St. Gallen

7. Purpose of the guidelines and legal basis

The guidelines explain what is needed to submit a complete application for support from Pro Helvetia for an artistic or a cultural project, what the criteria for the evaluation of an application are, what deadlines and procedures apply, and what legal steps can be taken. The guidelines supplement the Grant Ordinance (Verordnung über Beiträge der Stiftung Pro Helvetia) adopted by Pro Helvetia’s Board of Trustees on 27 November 2019 as well as the Arts and Culture Promotion Act (Kulturförderungsgesetz) of 11 December 2009 and the Arts and Culture Promotion Ordinance (Kulturförderungsverordnung) of 23 November 2011. These legal documents can be accessed (in German, French and Italian) on Pro Helvetia’s website at



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