EU funding explained

A large number of European Union (EU) programmes offer financial support for projects helping to deliver economic, social or environmental benefits. Organisations in Kent can apply for funding for projects under many of these funding programmes.

To be eligible for EU funding, your organisation usually needs to have:

  • partners from at least 3 member states
  • match funding -  this means you need to provide a certain amount of financing yourself to match the contribution from the EU (the rate varies according to the programme but is typically around 50%)
  • pre-financing - funding payments are usually made in arrears so you would have to spend money before claiming back the EU contribution.

EU funding programmes operate in 7 year cycles. The current cycle runs from 2014 to 2020.

There are 3 main types of EU funding.

Most of these programmes require multi-national partnerships and focus of particular topics such as:

  • art and culture
  • education and vocational training
  • enterprise and Innovation
  • environment and nature
  • research
  • transport.

Full list of topics

Most programmes operate a series of 'calls for proposals' during a particular year. The calls are usually specifically targeted on several key themes. They are usually published well in advance to enable potential applicants to prepare partnerships and project proposals. Beneficiaries can normally include public, private (SMEs) and voluntary sector organisations.

Overview of EU-wide funding

Funding checklist

EU INTERREG programmes aim to help regions and cities from different EU member states to work together. They aim to break down barriers and enable organisations to learn from each other through joint programmes, projects and networks under a variety of themes.

Organisations from Kent can apply for joint projects under five different INTERREG Programmes:

The Interreg 5A 2 Seas Cross-Border Co-operation Programme

  • Co-operation between eligible border regions in England, France, Belgium (Flanders) and the Netherlands.
  • Key topics:  Technological and social innovation, low carbon technologies, adaptation to climate change, resource efficient economy.

The Interreg 5A France Channel England Cross-Border Co-operation Programme

  • Co-operation between eligible border regions in England and France.
  • Key topics:  Innovation for economic and societal issues, low carbon economy, attractiveness of the region, balanced and inclusive development.

The Interreg 5B North Sea Region Transnational Co-operation Programme

  • Co-operation between eligible regions in the UK, Belgium (Flanders), the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Sweden (and Norway).
  • Key topics:  Economic growth, eco-innovation and green technology, climate change and environment, green transport and mobility.

The Interreg 5B North West Europe Transnational Co-operation Programme

  • Co-operation between eligible border regions in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
  • Key topics:  Social innovation, low carbon, resource and materials efficient.

The Interreg Europe Interregional Co-operation Programme

  • Co-operation between public authorities from across the whole EU.
  • Key topics:  Research and innovation, SME competitiveness, low carbon economy, environment and resource efficiency.

Funding checklist

Some EU programmes are run on a national basis and do not require international partnerships. For 2014-20, most of the available funds for England have been allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) areas under the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF). The South East LEP ESIF programme covers innovation and research, support for SMEs, low carbon, skills and employment and social inclusion.

Nationally-run EU funding programmes

Funding checklist