This document is the evaluation plan for the Scottish Government, in its role as Managing Authority (MA) of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF). It has been prepared with respect to various European Commission-produced guidance including, Guidance documents on Evaluation Plans for ESF and ERDF building-upon Scotland’s prior experience of evaluating European Structural and Investment fund (ESIF) programmes.
The role of ESF and ERDF in Scotland
The European Structural and Investment Funds provide European Union Member States with financial assistance to deliver the EU2020 strategy of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, increasing economic activity and employment across the EU.
The EU2020 strategy focuses on five ambitious goals in the areas of employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate/energy. The Scottish Government Economic Strategy highlights the same areas for growth and development. The main objective is therefore to focus on how Scotland can best align the investments which have the greatest impact on long-term sustainable growth. The programmes focus in particular on:
- SME competitiveness through innovation, digital take-up and business models, export and globalisation, investment, and leadership development
- digital roll out and take up in hard-to-reach areas and remote communities
- encouraging and supporting low carbon investment and innovation, including low carbon transport solutions
- resource efficiency in business and industry
- increasing employability for individuals facing multiple barriers to participation
- social innovation and social inclusion
- increasing mid and higher-level skills focused on vocational skills and STEM subjects in particular, and aligned to regional skills plans to ensure business and employment opportunities for those developing these skills
Scotland’s justifications for the selection of thematic objectives and investment priorities are set out in more detail in the ERDF and ESF Operational Programmes.
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