European Structural and Investment Funds

COVID-19 update: Please visit our guidance webpage for the latest advice on disruption to delivery of operations, including our Q&A

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) are the European Union's main way of investing in 'smart, sustainable and inclusive' growth in its member states.

We are the Managing Authority for two ESIFs in Scotland:

  • the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion by correcting imbalances between regions
  • the European Social Fund (ESF) aims to help people improve their lives by learning new skills and finding better jobs

We distribute these funds to lead partners, such as policy directorates, agencies and local authorities, who distribute the funding between individual projects and organisations.

Applications for funding should be made directly to a relevant ESIF lead partner organisation. The performance of funded programmes is monitored by the Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC).

Ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland joined forces in March 2021 to outline their concerns about the UK Government bypassing devolved governments and existing structures to allocate replacement EU funds. We are jointly seeking an urgent meeting with Treasury to raise these matters.

Find the latest news on the ESIF blog, including case studies of people, projects and businesses supported by ESIF.


For the period from 2014 to 2020 we received €476 million from the ERDF and €465 million from the ESF. These funds are being used to:

We are managing the funds by:

In Scotland ESIFs have played a vital role in reducing disparities between different parts of the country for over 40 years. Under the current 2014-2020 programmes, Scotland benefits from over £780 million of funding through the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, which invest in key policies such as our Modern Apprenticeship schemes and our Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.

The loss of this funding following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union will have a significant impact on the ability of local authorities, community groups, funding bodies and enterprise and skills agencies to deliver the kinds of initiatives that will drive inclusive economic growth and promote wellbeing and cohesion in communities right across the country.

A Scottish Government consultation into the Replacement for ESIF Post-EU Exit in Scotland was launched on 5 November 2019 and closed on Wednesday 12 February 2020. The ESIF Replacement Consultation Steering Group supported and guided the consultation process. An analysis of the findings of the consultation, along with the original consultation responses, was published on 12 June 2020.

On 19 November 2020, we announced proposals for replacement funding. The "Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund" would ensure Scotland’s distinctive needs and priorities are met, with a key focus on addressing and reducing economic and social disparity.


The ESIFs are intended to achieve EU priorities in areas such as employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate change/renewable energy.

They align with our priorities for Scotland, of reducing poverty and social exclusion, boosting educational attainment and skills development, growing employment levels, economic activity and innovation, and addressing climate change through increased use of renewable energy.

More information on the ESIFs can be found on the European Commission website.

Information published on these webpages is covered by Crown Copyright. It can be used and re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


Any complaints on the work carried out by the Managing Authority should be sent to

Read the ESIF Complaints process

For disputes over claims and verifications read the dispute resolution process.



General enquiries:

Complaints on work carried out by the Managing Authority:


3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
G2 8LU

Longman House
28 Longman Rd

10 Keith Street
Isle of Lewis
HS1 2 QG

Back to top