The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) are the European Union's main way of investing in 'smart, sustainable and inclusive' growth in its member states.
We are the Managing Authority for two ESIFs in Scotland:
- the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion by correcting imbalances between regions
- the European Social Fund (ESF) aims to help people improve their lives by learning new skills and finding better jobs
We distribute these funds to lead partners, such as policy directorates, agencies and local authorities, who distribute the funding between individual projects and organisations.
For the period from 2014 to 2020 we received €476 million from the ERDF and €465 million from the ESF. These funds are being used to:
- increase digital connectivity
- improve employment opportunities
- make Scotland more competitive in business
- ensure our cities are healthy and sustainable
- building a sustainable, low-carbon Scotland
- tackle poverty and inequality
We are managing the funds by:
- ensuring the funds are governed in line with European Commission regulations
- providing funding application forms and guidance
- providing the EUMIS IT system to monitor the programmes' implementation
- maintaining a record of all operations funding approved to date
- ensuring the programmes are delivered in line with the Scottish Operational Programmes
We distribute the ESIFs to lead partners through Strategic Interventions (SIs): large-scale allocations of more than €15 million, structured around specific themes and with specific aims. Lead partners are policy directorates, agencies and local authorities with the capacity and capability to manage the funds and provide match funding of their own to increase the overall levels of investment.
We work with lead partners to divide the SI and match funding into smaller amounts known as Operations. Individual projects and organisations then apply to lead partners to access the funds, and awards are made to projects most likely to achieve the stated aims of the SI.
We work with the lead partners to ensure the funds are awarded, monitored and evaluated in accordance with ESIF regulations.
The ESIFs are intended to achieve EU priorities in areas such as employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate change/renewable energy.
They align with our priorities for Scotland, of reducing poverty and social exclusion, boosting educational attainment and skills development, growing employment levels, economic activity and innovation, and addressing climate change through increased use of renewable energy.
More information on the ESIFs can be found on the European Commission website.
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