This website is no longer being updated. Please go to GOV.SCOT

Beta link

This content is not being updated. Get up-to-date Scottish Government information on European Structural and Investment Funds from

European Structural Funds

ESF 146ERDF 146



European Structural and Investment Funds


European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) provide EU Member States with financial assistance to deliver the EU2020 strategy of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, increasing economic activity and employment across the EU.

  • Smart - developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;

  • Sustainable - promoting a resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy;

  • Inclusive - fostering a high employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.

The implentation of ESIF in Member States is set out in the EU Common Provisions and underpinned by other European regulations.

The funds are focused on EU priorities in areas such as employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate/energy. They also align with Scottish Government priorities to reduce poverty and social exclusion, boost educational attainment and skills development, grow employment levels, economic activity and innovation, and climate change/renewable energy.

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) programmes in Scotland. It has overall responsibility for the implementation, management and effectiveness of funds distributed through the programmes.

Latest News

Publicity Guidelines

12 May 2017

The European Structural Funds (ESF) Division have received a number of queries around Publicity Guidelines, particularly in relation to the use of Social Media and the possible risks relating to non-compliance of the publicity requirements.

Social Media is an increasingly popular and powerful platform to promote projects and events.  The European Structural Funds division primarily use Twitter and have recently introduced the new European Structural and Investment Funds blog to inform Stakeholders of what’s going on in ESF.  Lead Partners and Delivery Agents are reminded to ensure their own twitter accounts are following @scotgovESIF and are encouraged to subscribe to RSS feeds for the new blog.  The @scotgovESIF Twitter handle should be used in posts to promote significant ESIF activity.  Hashtags #ESIF or #structuralfundsscotland should be used as much as possible to support and promote any Twitter activity.  Lead Partners are not restricted to using Twitter and are permitted to use other social media platforms including Facebook.

The updated Publicity Requirements can be found here

Lead Partners are reminded to follow the Publicity Requirements carefully.  Failure to do so may result in funding being withdrawn or repaid back to the Managing Authority.  If you are unsure as to whether or not you are adhering to the requirements please contact


EUMIS CSV upload option

18 April 2017

We have commissioned the development of a CSV file upload option to EUMIS in response to comments from a number of lead partners that they are unable to use the web interface to upload data.

Many lead partners have not submitted a first claim and have large volumes of data waiting to be uploaded. We would strongly encourage all lead partners to submit a first claim as soon as possible.  The EC Financial year end is 30 June 2017, and the MA plan to submit a payment claim to the EC shortly after that.  We need paid claims on EUMIS to do this.

Your first claim may be smaller until the CSV upload option is available, a fact we recognise.

The CSV upload is planned to be available from the 26 June 2017, and we will keep you updated on progress to this date. Please note the web interface remains available.

The CSV upload will allow any of the following data to be uploaded directly into EUMIS:

  • ESF recipients, achievements, outputs and results
  • ERDF recipients, achievements, outputs and results
  • Costs

For documentation to help you prepare for using the CSV upload option, please contact

If you have any questions regarding the upload please contact


Document Retention Dates

13 April 2017

Updates have been made to the document retention and formal closure dates for all programmes prior to the 2007-2013 programmes. 

The updated document can be found here


2014-2020 European Structural Funds

8 February 2017

Early Programmes Review

An early review of Structural Funds will report to the Joint Programme Monitoring Committee in June 2017. The review will consider what actions may be required to maximise outcomes and absorption of the funds following the outcome of the EU Referendum. A formal mid-term review is still required by EC Regulation and will report in early 2019.

The review will consider Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive growth goals set nationally as well as at an EU level. Whilst the Review will not propose to restructure the Programmes or the operational framework at this stage it will consider:


  •  What has changed since the programmes were developed and how this is affecting delivery or outcomes
  •  What new opportunities can be accommodated in the programmes
  •  Whether there are other adjustments to the programmes that will assist with maximising the outcomes and absorption
  •  Suggestions to improve delivery of the programmes


Consultation will be include Committees, Lead Partners and stakeholder groups throughout the review and a Steering Group has been convened to consider options and recommendations to the Joint Programme Monitoring Committee (JPMC). The Review will also consider the opportunity to extend current approved Strategic Interventions with the aim of reporting to the JPMC at the end of March 2017.

The review timetable is set out below and updates will be posted on the European Structural Funds pages of the Scottish Government website. Following the consideration of the Review by the JPMC in June 2017, an update on the outcomes will be published on the European Structural Funds pages of the Scottish Government website.

If you would like further information on the Review please contact

February 2017

Consultation, data survey, policy and socio-economic analysis.

By End March 2017

Consideration of analytical work and consultation

Initial options for further development and consultation

Recommendations to JPMC on extending existing approved Strategic Interventions

By Mid April 2017

Scoping out options

By Early May 2017

Consultation with key stakeholders on options

By Late May 2017

Steering Group consideration of consultation analysis and options appraisal


Operation Application Deadlines

25 January 2017

Latest date for submission of new Operation Applications or changes to existing Operations Applications to be considered in the March 2017 MAAP is 17 February 2017.


EUMIS Update

24 January 2017                                                                                            

The majority of operations are now on EUMIS and claims are starting to come in.

Please ensure all operations and SI approved applications to be loaded onto EUMIS as soon as possible. Once we approve them on EUMIS we will send you a designated signatories list for the Strategic Intervention.

Once this has been returned, your SI will be made live and you can submit claims (providing the pre-systems check is complete)

If you are having difficulty entering details please contact us at If the question relates to your milestones please speak to your Portfolio and Compliance Manager.

Please note that some Lead Partners have several Strategic Interventions and Operations. There have been a number of instances when users have amended the wrong Operation. Before editing or adding any data, please ensure you are in the correct Operation.



When submitting a claim, we need a designated signatory to confirm that the claim has been checked, that all costs are eligible for support and that the supporting documentation is available.

Please download the Claims letter template from the Help section, complete and arrange for the designated signatory to e-mail this to us (or to sign and post to us).



Application, claims and change request guidance is in the help section of EUMIS. We have had some feedback asking for the claims guidance to be expanded and we will look to update this soon.


Change Requests

If you need to change an operation or strategic intervention once it is live on EUMIS, you must complete the relevant change request template and submit as per the guidance.

There are 3 templates: changes at strategic intervention level; changes to operations; changes to the basic data entered for recipients.


Uploading to EUMIS

Web Interface

Lead Partners have started to test this and as a result a few amendments have been made to the web interface document and to the results/outputs spreadsheet detailing all the indicators and showing how they appear on EUMIS.

Updated documents can be found here


CSV Files

As a result of feedback from Lead Partners we are looking to add the option of uploading to EUMIS through a csv file. Whilst the web interface remains the best option for uploading data, this could be an option for some.

With the csv option, you would still need to be able to export the data from your systems and convert to a format accepted by EUMIS.

The changes required to EUMIS are likely to take 4-5 months. We are in the process of producing a specification for this and once this has been agreed and timescales are in place we will issue an update.

In the meantime we do want claims in so please arrange for manual entry in the meantime.



We intend to conduct a review of EUMIS later in the year. Please keep a note of anything you feel could be tweaked/improved in the system and this can feed into the review.


Further support

We may have capacity to offer further support to lead partners in the coming months. If you are using EUMIS and would find it useful to have an additional session with us please contact Please detail the areas you need support in, how many people you would like to involve and the type of support you would like – so would further guidance suffice, would a workshop be of use? We will review demand and see if we can set up some support sessions.


Scotland to benefit from significant EU funds

18 November 2016

Investment for vital projects to tackle poverty and inequality.

Councils across Scotland are set to benefit from almost £13m of funding to tackle poverty in communities across the country.

The money, made up from a combination of £5m of European Social Funds (ESF) and match funding from local authorities, will be targeted to projects that combat poverty and promote equal opportunity.

The First Minister made the announcement as she visited Project Search, an initiative delivered by the local authority in Renfrewshire designed to get young people with autism and learning disabilities into employment. The full press release can be read here.


EU Funding Guarantee

04 November 2016

Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution has announced that he will be passing on the UK Government’s recently announced guarantee on European funding in full. The detail of the announcement can be found here.

The guarantee covers all European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Programmes 2014-20, including European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), European Social Funds (ESF), European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programmes, agri-environment schemes, and all projects funded directly by the European Commission through, for example Horizon 2020.

Some 45% of the 2014-20 ERDF and ESF programmes are already committed, with almost all the approved projects running to the end of 2018. The Managing Authority (MA) will report to the Joint Programme Monitoring Committee (JPMC) on 30 November 2016 with options for committing the funds for the second phase of the programme.

The guarantee provides reassurance for projects which have been approved by the Managing Authority (MA) and those which will go through the approval process before the UK leaves the European Union.


Business Boost

25 October 2016

European funding for small and medium-sized enterprise.

More than 20,000 businesses will benefit from a £60 million investment, with EU money being used to grow Scotland’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The European Regional Development Fund support will bolster the business growth pipeline, allowing companies to access the help they need to expand. With SMEs accounting for 95% of businesses in Scotland, this funding will target growth through innovation and investment.

Full press release available here.


Winning Ways with Waste

24 October 2016RegioStars winners Ocean

Circular Ocean, a project led by the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), has been announced winner of the Public Choice Award at the European Commission’s RegioStars 2016 Awards.

The awards identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects which could be inspiring to other regions. Winning this award has put the spotlight on Circular Ocean as being one of the most innovative EU funded projects.

Engagement with the European Union (EU) has always been at the heart of the development of the University of the Highlands and Islands, whether in terms of financial investment or collaborative work with partners in other member states.

The winning project aims to inspire remote communities to realise the economic opportunities of discarded fish nets and ropes by turning this marine waste into a useful resource. Circular Ocean is not only tackling the problem of marine waste but is supporting Scotland’s move to a more circular economy.

North Highland College UHI have been involved in many excellent EU initiatives over the years and are delighted to receive recognition for their outstanding work in the Circular Ocean project.


EU Referendum

Saltire and EU flag27 June 2016

Following the EU Referendum, the Scottish Government continues to deliver the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund programmes.

To date the Scottish Government has committed £236 million of grants to Lead Partners under the current programmes. Benefits of these investments include:

  • Support for over 2000 businesses to grow;

  • 7500 new jobs;

  • The development of industry-specific skills for over 3500 people;

  • 400km of new cycle paths;

  • Support for 200 low-carbon projects;

  • Support for over 50,000 people with multiple employment barriers into work or training;

  • Help for 17,000 unemployed young people to secure work or education;

  • Support to grow 150 social enterprises.

Lead Partners seeking funding for Operations should submit completed applications to the Managing Authority by 31 July 2016. The Scottish Government will assess these applications and advise on outcomes by the end of September 2016.

Regular updates about the ERDF and ESF programmes will continue to be provided here and on the Scottish Government's EU Referendum page.


RegioStars AwardsRegiostars Logo

14 March 2016

The European Commission is seeking applications for the RegioStars Awards 2016. The awards honour Europe's most inspiring and innovative regional development projects in five separate categories: Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, CityStar and Effective Management. For further information including how to apply, visit the EC website. The deadline for applications is 15th April 2016.



Manufacturing plan to boost industryTitan Crane Clydebank

15 February 2016

£70 million for manufacturing and the circular economy.

Bespoke support and a new Centre of Excellence to help Scotland’s manufacturers innovate and expand have been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The funding, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy. Read the full press release here.

Find out more about the Circular Economy Accelerator Programme here.


£60 million to boost youth employment

14 February 2016

Young people in South West Scotland to benefit from new jobs drive.

A £60 million programme to support young people in South West Scotland into secure and sustainable employment has been launched today.

The funding is from the European Commission’s Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) which aims to tackle high levels of youth unemployment across the European Union. Full press release available here.

Read more about the Youth Employment Initiative here.




Working with Scotland's Smart Cities

13 November 2015Working in Partnership

Investment of £4 million secures £40 million in return.

Scottish Government investment in cities is delivering tenfold, with £4 million bringing £40 million in return, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has revealed.

Read more about the Smart Cities initiative here.




Programme Updates


Scottish Government secures funding guarantee for projects

Scottish Government has secured agreement from UK Ministers to guarantee all Structural Funds projects which are approved and have offers of grant agreed by the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which is usually toward the end of November or early December. Read more.


Strategic Intervention & Operation Application Deadlines

Latest date for submission of Strategic Interventions to be considered in October 2016 MAAP is 14 September 2016

Latest date for submission of Operation Applications to be considered in November 2016 MAAP is 12 October 2016


Spaces still available for ESIF Claims Training Sessions

Spaces are still available for the Claims training sessions due to take place this month.  The training will include an overview of the claims process, verifications, the change control process and EUMIS.  Sessions will run from 10am to 3pm. Read More.


Operation application approvals issued and next MAAP dates set

The Managing Authority Approval Panel (MAAP) met in March 2016 to consider over 120 Operation applications. Offer of Grant letters, or confirmation of approvals, have now been issued to successful applicants. Read more.


Work to finalise claims and verifications process nears completion

The claims and verification processes are currently being finalised with the Audit Authority. Many of the established principles on retention and availability of documents, and checks on State Aid and procurement compliance, will continue. Read more.


EC seeking view on European Social Fund                                                     

The European Commission is running an open public consultation as part of the 2007-2013 European Social Fund ex-post evaluation. Read more.


Dates set for completion of 2014-2020 Operation Applications

Dates have now been set for the Managing Authority Approval Panels to process Operation Applications.

The completion dates are later than originally planned due to new audit and compliance requirements which were introduced following the suspension of funding under the 2007-2013 programmes. Read more.


Commission considers 2015 Annual Control Report as work progresses towards lifting of Suspensions

The European Commission is currently considering the 2015 Annual Control Report submitted by the Audit Authority as part of the annual European Structural and Investment Fund audit activity. Read more.

Case Study

The Apex Ascend ProgrammeDonny working with staff member David McNulty completing the Abriachan Forest Trail

Apex Scotland works with prisoners, ex-offenders and people at risk of offending, providing training and education to support behaviour change and enable recipients to lead fulfilling lives.

Since 2012 the Apex Ascend Programme has used more than £400,000 from the European Social Fund to support over 350 individuals.

Donnie was homeless and frequently in trouble with the police. Find out how he turned his life around through the Apex Ascend project.