European Structural Funds


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

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.



Business Innovation BoostSG Aquamarine Power

28 September 2015

£78 million fund to help companies develop new products.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed Scotland is set to become an ‘innovation nation’ thanks to a new funding package supporting Scottish businesses to develop almost 1,000 new inventions, products and services.

Read more about the ERDF Innovation Fund here.




Tackling Employment BarriersEmployability Funding

28 August 2015

£43 million to boost job opportunities.

European funding of £43 million is supporting the long-term unemployed and people with multiple barriers to secure sustainable employment across Scotland.

Read more about the ESF Employability Fund here.

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.