Europe 2020 is the European Union’s growth strategy for the coming decade, with five ambitious objectives focused on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy to be met by 2020.
The following European funding programmes cover the period 2014 – 2020 to help support the Europe 2020 strategy and various other national strategies.
European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
For the period 2014-2020, West Wales and the Valleys (which includes Neath Port Talbot) will receive European Structural Funds investment worth some £1.6 billion.
In line with EU and Welsh Government strategies for supporting growth and jobs in Wales, the ESF and ERDF Operational Programmes focus on research and innovation, helping businesses to start up and grow, supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency, connectivity and urban development, tackling poverty through sustainable employment, increasing skills and youth employment.
Full details on how the ESF and ERDF will be spent in the region are detailed within the Operational Programmes for West Wales and the Valleys. Funding application documentation and guidance documents are available from the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) website (external link).
Organisations can benefit from ESF and ERDF funding through:
• Direct support e.g. directly applying for funding for your project
• Indirect support e.g. small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can access support through Business Wales (external link)
• Tender opportunities, which are advertised on the Sell 2 Wales website (external link)
(For useful websites to source support and information on tendering, please visit the NPTCBC Procurement webpages).
For advice and guidance on applying for ESF and ERDF funding, the European and External Funding Team have produced an ‘Introductory Guide to Structural Funds 2014 – 2020’ which summarises the funding opportunities and application process. Alternatively, please contact the
European & External Funding Team
The Wales Rural Development Programme (RDP)
Funded by the European Union and Welsh Government, the RDP improves the competitiveness of farming and forestry, protects the environment and improves the quality of life and diversification of rural areas. Neath Port Talbot has 24 wards which are classed as ‘rural’ by Welsh Government.
More information on RDP funding opportunities and a map illustrating the rural wards within Neath Port Talbot can be found within the NPTCBC Rural Development Plan webpages.
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
Accessible through the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will support strong local communities and fisheries/ aquaculture businesses to increase the sector’s sustainability and to guarantee its financial future.
For more information on how this fund works, please visit the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund website (external link).
The biggest ever European Union Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020 has nearly €80 billion of funding available for the period 2014 – 2020. Promoting research and innovation, Horizon 2020 promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by helping higher education organisations and businesses take their great ideas from the lab to the market.
Support with funding applications is available through SCoRE Cymru (external link), the Welsh European Funding Office Horizon 2020 Unit (external link) and the Enterprise Europe Network (external link).
Further information and calls for funding proposals are detailed in the Horizon 2020 website (external link).
Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. Running for the period 2014 – 2020, funding application deadlines for most activities happen once a year, although there are additional deadlines for youth projects.
Aiming to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe, Erasmus+ funding is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of lifelong learning, including school education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. If offers exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe. Sport funding focuses on co-operation and activities at a grassroots level.
Further information and funding application deadlines is featured in the Erasmus+ website (external link).
The LIFE Programme
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value.
Funding can be accessed for nature, biodiversity, conservation, environmental and climate change themed projects.
Further detail on LIFE funding opportunities and funding criteria is available from the LIFE website (external link).
COSME is the European Union programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020. COSME will support SMEs in the following areas: better access to finance for SMEs, access to markets, supporting entrepreneurs and creating more favourable conditions for business creation and growth.
Detailed information on what opportunities the COSME Programme can offer is available from the COSME website (external link).
Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) Programme
The EaSI programme is a financing instrument at European Union level which aims to promote a high level of quality and sustainable employment, a guarantee for adequate and decent social protection, an improvement in working conditions and combating social exclusion and poverty.
To discover how the EaSI will support employment and social innovation in more detail, please visit the EaSI website (external link).
Creative Europe Programme
Aiming to support the European audio-visual cultural and creative sector, the Creative Europe programme has different funding schemes to encourage audio-visual, cultural and creative players to operate across Europe, reach new audiences and develop the skills required in the digital age.
Calls for funding proposals are detailed in the Creative Europe website (external link).
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) finances projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. It will also make Europe's economy greener by promoting cleaner transport modes, high speed broadband connections and facilitating the use of renewable energy.
In addition, the funding for energy networks will further integrate the internal energy market, reduce the European Union’s energy dependency and bolster the security of supply. By focussing on smart, sustainable and fully interconnected transport, energy and digital networks, the Connecting Europe Facility will help to complete the European single market.
For more detailed information, please visit the Connecting Europe Facility website (external link).