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EU Funding Opportunities 2014-2020: Summary

All objectives and funding programmes for the period of 2014-2020 follow the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy.

This summary will help boroughs identify EU funding opportunities suitable for their borough priorities. Any boroughs interested in participating in an EU project or who want further information should contact Kate Mouncher.

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the European Programme for research and innovation for the funding period 2014-2020. It is part of the EU’s drive to create growth and new jobs in Europe. Horizon 2020 consists of three priorities, which are implemented through specific programmes and a dedicated financial contribution:

  • Excellent science:  Promoting scientific excellence and the European research systems.
  • Industrial leadership: Increasing and supporting competitiveness and European industrial leadership.
  • Societal challenges: Responding to the major societal challenges Europe is facing by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market.

The programme to address societal challenges particularly supports the priorities of local authority partners. The programme covers a wide range of policy areas, including providing €30million to address major concerns such as climate change, developing sustainable transport and mobility, and making renewable energy more affordable.

LEPT published a briefing for boroughs on the H2020 funding programme and the 2017 Call for Proposals. 

Interreg Europe

The Interreg Europe programme aim is to improve the drafting and implementation of regional policies and programmes. The programme identifies four thematic objectives which are addressed in two supported actions. 

Specific objectives:

  • Strengthening research, technological development and innovation
  • Enhancing the competiveness of SMEs
  • Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors
  • Protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency.

Supported Actions:

  • Projects: the programme funds interregional cooperation projects which allow partners from the different EU Member States to work together on a shared regional policy issue under the four thematic objectives supported. By adopting successful approaches from other project partners, the regions involved in these projects should improve the way their programmes and policies are implemented.
  • Platforms: the programme provides assistance to all European regions through policy learning platforms covering the four thematic objectives. These platforms will offer services such as individual advice, peer reviews, thematic seminars and recommendations on the design and implementation of Structural and Investment Funds programmes.

The programme has a budget of €359 million. For Interregional Cooperation Projects the co-financing rate for partners in the United Kingdom will be 75%. The Policy Learning Platforms will be financed at 100%.

LEPT published a briefing for boroughs on the Interreg Europe funding programme. 

Interreg NWE

The Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) Programme is a transnational European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Union. The programme will promote the economic, environmental, social and territorial future of the NWE area. The programme has a budget of €370 million available to co-finance projects at a rate of 60%. The programme has identified three thematic priorities: innovation, low carbon and resource and material efficiency.

The three priorities cover a range of policy areas, including transport and mobility, renewable energy, climate change and resource efficiency. For each priority one or more specific objectives has been defined. Priority two, low carbon, and objectives three and four are especially suited to local authority partners.

LEPT published a briefing for boroughs on the Interreg North-West Europe Funding programme and the 2017 Calls for Proposals.


URBACT is jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and EU Member States. The total 2014-2020 budget is €74 million, including €68 million dedicated to projects promoting sustainable urban development. URBACT III objectives and actions are especially suited to local authority partners.

URBACT facilitates the sharing of knowledge and good practice between cities and other levels of government, to promote sustainable urban development. Partners create Action Planning Networks to share good practice and develop solutions to urban challenges, to be shared with all stakeholders involved in urban policy throughout Europe.

Calls for the creation of 15 Transfer Networks will open in 2017. 

LEPT published a briefing for boroughs on the URBACT funding programme


The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. To reflect the importance of climate-related action, the LIFE Programme 2014-2020 includes a dedicated sub-programme for climate action.

The LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Change 2014-2020 is divided into two sub-programmes:

LIFE Environment: The Environment sub-programme of LIFE 2014-2020 is the main EU funding mechanism for projects in the area of the environment. The sub-programme focuses on the priority areas of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity and environmental governance and information.The programme focuses on three priority areas:

  • Environment and Resource Efficiency
  • Nature & Biodiversity
  • Environment Governance & Information 

LIFE Climate Action: Supports public authorities in implementing low-carbon and adaptation technologies and new innovative methods and approaches responding to the challenges of climate change in Europe.  The Climate Action sub-programme will provide €864 million in co-financing for climate projects. The programme focuses on three priority areas:

  • Mitigation: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in key sectors.
  • Adaptation: Increasing resilience to climate change with a particular focus on urban adaptation
  • Governance and information: Enhancing climate governance and capacity-building, increasing awareness, communication, cooperation and dissemination of information on mitigation and adaptation actions.

There is a proposed allocation of €3.4 billion for the LIFE Programme over the period 2014-2020. This will be divided as follows:

  • Environment - €2.6 billion
  • Climate Action - €800 million

Up to 60% of eligible costs are available for all projects in the first four years of the Programme, and up to 55% for all projects the final three years of the Programme with the following exceptions:

  • Up to 60% of eligible costs for integrated projects, technical assistance projects and preparatory projects for the entire duration of the programme.
  • Up to 75% of eligible costs are available for projects funded under the Environment sub-programme priority area Nature and Biodiversity. 
  • Up to 100% of funding for capacity building projects.

LEPT published a briefing for boroughs on the UIA funding programme and the 2016 Call for Proposals. 

Urban Innovation Actions

The Urban Innovation Actions (UIA) initiative will launch its second Call for Proposals in December 2016. The European Commission has selected the three topics that will be included in the call: sustainable urban mobility, the circular economy and the integration of migrants and refugees. Priority one, sustainable urban mobility, is most suited to borough priorities. 

European Regional Development Fund

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is one of three main funds that have been set up under EU regional policy.  The ERDF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between member states. The ERDF supports projects covering a range of policy areas, including climate change and environment, energy and transport infrastructures, health, social inclusion and sustainable urban development.

Projects under the ERDF will be concentrated on four thematic priorities: innovation and research, the digital agenda, support for SME’s and the low-carbon economy. Around €100 billion will be dedicated to these, of which at least €23 billion will support the shift to a low-carbon economy (energy efficiency and renewable energies). The percentage of funds dedicated to each sector depends on the economic development of regions. The maximum EU co-financing rate for more developed regions will be 50%.

Connecting Europe Facility

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) supports sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy.  The programme objective is to contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth within three thematic areas:

  • Energy: CEF aims to close financial gaps and to reduce bottlenecks in the energy infrastructure. The thematic priorities will be smart grids, intelligent, electricity highways and cross-border COcooperation.
  • Transport: CEF supports projects pursuing the integration and interconnection of transport modes, sustainable and efficient transports services, and the construction of missing links and removal of bottlenecks.
  • Telecommunications: CEF will support projects that accelerate the deployment of fast and ultrafast broadband networks and that promote the interconnection and interoperability of national public service online as well as access to such networks.

The overall budget for the programme is €22 million with a co-financing rate of up to 50% for grants for studies.