Grand prize of the European Commission honoring innovation in technology, industry and society stimulated by the arts

STARTS is an initiative of the European Commission to foster alliances of technology and artistic practice. As part of this initiative, the STARTS Prize awards the most pioneering collaborations and results in the field of creativity and innovation at the crossings of science and technology with the arts. The STARTS Prize of the European Commission is launched by Ars Electronica and the consortium partners BOZAR, Waag, INOVA+, T6 Ecosystems, French Tech Grande Provence and Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Science, Technology and Arts (=STARTS) form a nexus with an extraordinarily high potential for creative innovation. And such innovation is considered to be precisely what’s called for if we’re to master the social, ecological and economic challenges that Europe will be facing in the near future. The role of artists thus is no longer seen to be just about propagating scientific and technological knowledge and skills among the general public but much more as a kind of catalyst that can inspire and trigger innovative processes. The artistic practice of creative exploration and experimental appropriation of new technologies has a wide-reaching potential to contribute to the development of new products and new economic, social and business models. Accordingly, the STARTS Prize focuses on artistic works that influence or change the way we look at technology, and on innovative forms of collaboration between the ICT sector and the world of art and culture.

Two prizes, each with €20,000 prize money, are offered to honor innovative projects at the intersection of science, technology and the arts: The emphasis of both prizes lies on the creative appropriation and employment of technologies as well as the search for unique constellations of collaboration from the STARTS fields.

Grand Prize – Innovative Collaboration

honors innovative collaboration between industry or technology and the artistic (and creative) sectors that open up new avenues for innovation

Grand Prize – Artistic Exploration

honors artistic research and works whose adoption by the arts has great potential to influence or change the use, application, or perception of technology

S+T+ARTS Prize 2021 Priorities

In its new edition, the prestigious prize not only has an expanded consortium, but also a thematic focus. The current spotlight lies on cross-sectoral projects investigating the disruptive powers of creative data and media innovation as well as on works exploring hybrid formats, groundbreaking technologies or initiatives of storytelling in next generation media.
While all outstanding examples of innovative collaborations and artistic explorations in STARTS are highly encouraged to submit their works, the 2021 priorities lie on innovative projects:

  • that show a novel artistic approach to data,
  • that play with immersive technology, interactive media, and related technological developments
  • that display a democratization in the use and application of data and content development and creation in the media landscape,
  • that are involved in user-generated content or metadata, crowdsourcing & co-creation or citizen involvement
  • that reveal the potentials as well as risks of the organization of contemporary data systems and media interfaces,
  • that manifest innovative ways in the unique creation, access and distribution of media content & platforms as well as personalized and non-linear storytelling
  • that exhibit new, qualitative approaches as a result of disrupting traditional media

What can be submitted?

  • Groundbreaking collaborations and projects driven by both technology and the arts. Purely artistic or technologically driven projects are not the focus of this competition.
  • All forms of artistic works and practices with a strong link to innovation in technology, business and/or society; furthermore, STARTS is not restricted to a particular genre such as media art and digital art.
  • All types of technological and scientific research and development that has been inspired by art or involves artists as catalysts of novel thinking.
  • The jury is looking forward to receiving submissions from a broad variety of fields and disciplines. Among others, projects from the areas of new media applications, human computer interaction, machine learning, biotechnology, art & science, green technologies, material research, smart cities and citizen empowerment, robotics, quantum technology and many more are very welcome to apply.
  • For inspiration, have a look at our broad range of winners, honorary mentions and nominations of the past years.

Who can enter?

Artists/creative professionals or the researchers/companies involved from throughout the world; STARTS is not limited to citizens of EU-member states.

When can be submitted?

The submission process for the STARTS Prize 2021 starts on January 11, 2021 and ends on March 15, 2021. The submission platform can be accessed between January 11 and March 15, 2021 at starts-prize-call.aec.at.

When and how does the jury reach its decision?

The jury convenes at the end of April, 2021. All STARTS Prize 2021 winners will be notified by Mid-June 2021 at the latest.

According to which criteria are the entries judged?

  • Quality of the artistic research and its potential influence on technology
  • Quality and success of the collaboration between art and technology
  • Quality and intensity of the connection to innovation, education, social inclusion or sustainability
  • Quality and implementation of the European Dimension of the submitted project
  • General criteria such as aesthetics, originality, convincing concept, innovation and the technique and quality of the presentation

Where and when will the winning projects be presented?

At the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2021 in Linz, Austria and at various exhibitions and events of the consortium partners worldwide.