The £3m Regional Development Challenge Fund will facilitate the development of 'regional clusters' and infrastructure, which will improve collaboration between local museums and local authorities and agencies.
The RDCF, which replaces the Strategic Change Fund, will be administered on the executive's behalf by the Scottish Museums Council and will be available from April 2004.
Culture minister Frank McAveety said:
'I am pleased museums at a local level now have the opportunity to develop more productive partnerships with local authorities, the National Museums and Galleries and others.
'Our galleries and museums provide a valuable resource to communities throughout Scotland. The fund will enable them to develop and promote their role in relation to identified regional cultural, educational and economic agendas.'
Assistant director of the Scottish Museums Council, Christine Galey added:
'The Scottish Museums Council is delighted that the Regional Development Challenge Fund will build on the excellent work initiated by the Strategic Change Fund.
'It will enable museums to work with a wide range of partners in the community to develop learning through museums, tourism initiatives or to increase access by diverse audiences to the rich resources held by museums throughout Scotland.'
In An Action Framework for Museums, published on 22 August 2003, the executive proposed the creation of a Regional Development Framework.
Details of the proposals were set out in a consultative draft on the Regional Development Challenge Fund, circulated by the Executive in October, and a seminar was held in Stirling in Novem ber.
This consultation process confirmed broad support for the scheme's proposed aims, objectives and themes, and informed the development of the guidelines for the fund.
The Guidelines set out the criteria for application to the fund, which will be available from April 2004 and amounts to £3m over three years.
The maximum level of funding for each partnership will be £100,000 per annum over a three-year period.
Interested applicants should contact the Scottish Museums Council for further information. Copies of the guidelines are available.
The aim of the Regional Development Challenge Fund (which replaces the Strategic Change Fund) is to develop the capacity and sustainability of the museum sector through active partnerships: across local authority boundaries; between local authority and independent museums (including regimental and university); enabling a new level of productive interaction with the Nationals; and providing opportunities for museums to link into, and be part of, other initiatives withindeveloping regional partnerships.