Detailed guide: England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds

Updated: Privacy notice added

About the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth programme

The European Structural and Investment Funds programme provides funds to help local areas grow. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment and create jobs.

Running from 2014 to 2020, there are 3 types of funds involved in the programme:

  • European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports research and innovation, small to medium sized enterprises and creation of a low carbon economy

  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) supports rural businesses to grow and expand, improve knowledge and skills and get started – Read more information and access documents on this fund

View projects that have received funding from the ERDF and ESF.

Take a look at how the ERDF programme has been performing. Read the Annual Implementation Report 2016 (PDF, 1.91MB, 287 pages) and the Annual Implementation Report 2015 (PDF, 523KB, 124 pages) setting out key factual information on the implementation of the programme and its priorities.

Who can apply for funding

A variety of requirements and criteria must be met in order to apply for funding through the programme. Read the programme guidance to see who is eligible to apply for funding from the ERDF and the ESF.

Read detailed information about the funds including the priorities, objectives and target groups and how the funds are being implemented:

The ERDF Managing Authority has carried out a Strategic Environmental Assessment against the ERDF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020, read the determination here (PDF, 192KB, 8 pages) .

Applying for European Structural and Investment Growth programme funds

There are 2 routes to apply for funding.

Route 1: Funding Finder

Through this route funding opportunities for all of the ERDF, part of the EAFRD and part of the ESF are available.

Apply through the Funding Finder.

Route 2: Co-financing (European Social Fund only)

Also known as opt-in organisations, a large proportion of ESF money is available through this alternative route. Co-financing means that ESF can cover up to 100% of an approved project’s eligible costs.

Read details on this approach, the opt-in organisations and how to apply through this route on our partner page.

Find out more about the different stages of a typical European Regional Development Fund or European Social Fund project (PDF, 1.86MB, 31 pages) .

Programme guidance, forms, publicity and performance information

Managing the European Structural and Investment Growth programme funds

Privacy notice

Read about how we collect, use and store your personal information.

Contact us

For all general enquiries about the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth programme or the ERDF, email

For enquiries about the ESF, email

For enquiries about the EAFRD, email

For local information and enquiries, contact the Local Enterprise Partnership Network.

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