European Structural and Investment Funds

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the European Union’s main funding programmes for supporting growth and jobs across the EU. They form a small but significant part of the UK Government’s overall growth activity.

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EU Member States can use the Funds to support development in a wide-ranging way by investing in businesses, research, development, infrastructure, employment, training, and agriculture development.

In the UK, the ESIF are made up of the:

The ERDF aims to improve economic and social cohesion in the European Union by focusing its investments on areas such as innovation, research, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The European Social Fund aims to increase employment opportunities in the EU by helping people to get better skills and better job prospects,

EAFRD helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century.

These three funds together form a single Growth programme (known as ESIF) with individual operational programmes aligned to maximise support for jobs and growth.

ESIF & Dorset LEP

The £6 billion funds within the Growth Programme have been allocated England's 39 LEP areas, where they can be used to support employment, skills and research, amongst other areas.

LEPs are responsible for setting local ESIF strategies and encouraging local business to utilise the opportunities brought on by EU funding to improve their business and the local area.

Dorset LEP, in line with national policy, wrote the 2014-2020 ESIF Strategy for Dorset. This strategy supports the Strategic Economic Vision for Dorset and delivery of the Dorset Growth Deal.

Dorset’s ESIF allocation currently stands at £47.1m.

Click here to download a copy of the Dorset LEP’s ESIF strategy for 2014-2020.

Click here to download a copy of Dorset ERDF outputs. 


Dorset ESIF Committee

Dorset ESIF Committee, formed in line with EU guidance, provides advice to central government (the managing authority) on the strategic fit of projects proposed to deliver within Dorset

To view the full list of Dorset ESIF committee members, please click here.


Calls for Projects

A call for Projects is an open invitation (tender) for applicants to submit proposals against a published call specification.

When a call is open, there is funding available within the programme to support a range of projects with specific outcomes. In order for the project to be successful in receiving specific funding, it must be aligned with the agreed ESIF programme objectives within that particular funding stream.

For more information about the ESIF Growth programme, including who can apply and how to apply for funding, click here.

To view recent or open Dorset calls, please visit the ESIF calls website.