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European Structural Funds

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.

Scottish Government 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

Scottish Government distribute these funds to lead partners, such as policy directorates, agencies and local authorities, who distribute the funding between individual projects and organisations.

Applications for funding should be made directly to a relevant ESIF lead partner organisation. The performance of funded programmes is monitored by the Joint Programme Monitoring Committee (JPMC).



For the period from 2014 to 2020 Scottish Government 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

Scottish Government are managing the funds by:

  • ensuring the funds are governed in line with European Commission regulations
  • producing Annual Implementation Reports of the operational progammes
  • 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