Applying for funding


11. I have an idea for an ESIF project; who can I contact?
D2N2 is very interested in hearing from partners who are developing ideas for future ESIF funded projects and programmes. Please feel free to send us your initial thoughts for projects using our ‘Big Idea’ template which can be found on our website here.  Please return your completed template to Richard Kirkland via All Big Idea templates submitted will be treated in strictest confidence. We’re not able to advise which projects will or won’t be successful, but we can provide some initial advice and pointers to possible ways forward. However please note that until the England-wide programmes have been agreed by the EC, matters are subject to change.


12. When can I submit an application for funding?
Once the Operational Programmes have been agreed by the European Commission then we anticipate the Government will allow us to launch. We don’t plan to delay launching. For ESF programmes delivered through Opt-in organisations, applications will go through the Opt-in Organisations who will be responsible for procuring ESF activity.


13. How to prepare for these opportunities?
Although the first call for projects will not be until later in 2015, it can take some considerable time to pull together a project with multiple partners and confirm match funding where applicable. Any organisation who wishes to apply for ESIF in the future should now consider:  Reviewing project fit with the D2N2 ESIF Strategy and Consultation Draft Local Implementation Plan.  Starting negotiations with potential partners, whether they are delivery, referral or funding partners.  Identifying and bidding for sources of match funding as appropriate.  Discussing ideas with the D2N2 team


14. What is a call?
A call is an open invitation for applicants to submit proposals against a published specification. The use of calls enables the LEP ESIF Programme Board to specify what they wish to fund and how they wish to fund it, but not who will deliver it. Inviting applications via calls can bring forward a range of ideas and innovative solutions, as well as helping to ensure that the process for selecting grants is open, transparent and consistent. The first round of calls will be published by the Managing Authority as soon as possible after the national programmes have been agreed by the European Commission (it is anticipated that this will be in summer 2015). Using information gleaned from the ESIF Local Implementation Plan consultation D2N2 has already begun the process of considering the nature of our first calls in 2015.


15. Will I need to provide match funding and at what rate?
In most instances, ESIF has to be ‘matched’ with other funds from the public or private sector. Sources of match funding could be from opt in organisations or the applicant's own funds, dependent upon the nature of the call. This rule is used to lever in maximum value from other partners, and reassures the EC that projects enjoy genuine commitment from local partners. As a whole, the ERDF and ESF programmes must achieve the match funding proportions of 50%. Therefore as a rule of thumb, we will be expecting applicants to demonstrate that they have the right level of match funding available to resource the project


16. Will I be able to apply for funding retrospectively? In other words, seek funding from a ‘start date’ prior to submitting an application?
We are awaiting confirmation from Government if this will be possible. For ERDF projects and ESF directly-funded projects, it is unlikely. Separate rules are likely to apply for match funding used by ESF Opt-in Organisations


17. Where can I find an application form?
These are not yet available. The Government is finalising the applications forms. Applying for ERDF will be done by completing fields online, rather than via a paper-based application form; and will be accessible via the Government’s website. We expect online access to the application forms to be available once the Operational Programme has gone live. There will be two stages to the ERDF application process: Outline Application and Full Application. Guidance and forms for ESF Opt-in organisations will be found on the websites of the relevant organisations. For the majority of activity procured under the Skills Funding Agency organisations must be registered on the register of training organisations. You can register here


18. Will there be one application form for both directly-funded ESF and ERDF projects?
Yes. Applications will be made online. We understand that an applicant will be able to select ‘ESF’, ‘ERDF’ or both, and the relevant, tailored questions will appear on the screen.


19. How are the 2014-20 programmes different from 2007-13?
The ESF and ERDF programmes are both England-wide programmes for 2014- 20. Local Enterprise Partnerships (including D2N2) and partners are playing a significant role in the new programmes. LEPs have been allocated notional sums of ERDF/ESF/EAFRD money for 2014-20. As a result the activities that will be supported by the new programmes are not a straight read-across from 2007-13; D2N2 will focus our work on four strategic priorities for supporting enterprises. These priorities are relevant to all businesses in the D2N2 area but have particular significance to the high growth businesses that are responsible for the bulk of private sector job creation. They are:

  • Innovation
  • Business support and access to finance 
  • Infrastructure for economic growth 
  • Employment, skills and social inclusion


20. What outputs and results are projects required to deliver in return for receiving funding?
A key requirement of any organisation receiving ERDF, EAFRD and ESF is the delivery of targets. The Government is working through its proposals for the suite of Outputs and Results, including targets, with the EC as part of its Operational Programme negotiations. The EC and Government will be paying close attention to the achievement of Outputs. EC Regulations for 2014-20 state that a Member State’s ESIF allocations can be adversely affected by under-performance of Outputs (i.e. funds taken away from a Local Enterprise Partnership allocation). For ERDF it is expected that the suite of Outputs will be consistent across the 39 LEP areas, although each LEP area will deliver against the most appropriate Outputs. The D2N2 ESIF Local Implementation Plan (Appendix D page 67) sets out the expected targets to be achieved, but these are not set in stone: the range 8 of Outputs, definitions and targets is likely to change in the coming months. However, Appendix D on page 67 provides a useful ‘initial view’ For ESF there will be a suite of Output and Result indicators. The primary indicators for ESF are not expected to be largely different from the previous programming period. The core results will look at the number of participants into education, employment and/or training. Once again Appendix D on page 67 of the D2N2 ESIF Local Implementation Plan gives a view on the number of output requirements. Note: we are awaiting guidance from Government on Outputs, Results and definitions which may change over the coming months.


21. If the European Commission is now more interested in a results orientated, output measured programme, will applicants be encouraged to reference payments-by-results models?
We are not expecting the Government to introduce payments-by-results-type methods for ERDF.


22. What are the output indicators for the new ERDF programme?
You can find the ERDF regulations from the European Commission here. The output indicators are listed on pages 11/12.
The Government is currently negotiating which of these common output indicators should be used in the English ESIF programme.

We are awaiting clarification on:

  • Which of these ERDF outputs will be applicable
  • How the output indicators relate to the ERDF Investment Priorities (page 6 of the regulations)
  • The output evidence requirements and guidance

This list should not be seen as exhaustive as the Government may include additional outputs to those set out by the European Commission. 

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