European Funding in Newcastle

European Funding in Newcastle

ESIF logo

The European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 programme provides funds to help local areas grow in a smart, sustainable and inclusive way. These funds are provided through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

What is the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)?

What is the European Social Fund (ESF)?

How to apply for European Funding

Find out more about ERDF Projects in Newcastle

Find out more about ESF Projects in Newcastle

Find out about the Sustainable Urban Development Programme

What is the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)?

ERDF logo


The North East’s indicative allocation of ERDF for 2014-2020 is £227m, and covers five key areas:

  • Research and Innovation (£54.7m)
  • SME Competitiveness (£126.7m)
  • Supporting a shift towards a Low carbon economy (£70m)
  • Climate Change adaptation, in particular flood risk management (£7m)
  • Community Led Local Development (£4.7m)

You can find out more in this short video:

The local context on about why these areas are important, how much money is available for each area, and the kinds of activity that can be funded are outlined in the North East LEP ESIF strategy. There is also information in the Operational Programme for England.

Within the main fund, a separate fund has been created for Sustainable Urban Development in the urban core of Northumberland and Tyne and Wear to support the following key challenges for the region:

  • Supporting the Shift Towards a Low Carbon Economy in all Sectors (£18.52m)
  • Promoting Climate change Adaptation, Risk Prevention and Management (£2.97m)

What is the European Social Fund (ESF)?

ESF logo

In Tyne and Wear and Northumberland the European Social Fund (ESF) provides 50% of revenue funding to support projects which offer training to the unemployed and those employed in small and medium sized enterprises. In this area there are two priority axes, each of which is divided into investment priorities:

Priority Axis 1: Inclusive Labour Markets

  • 1.1 Access to Employment
  • 1.2 Sustainable Integration of Young People
  • 1.3 Youth Employment Initiative (County Durham)
  • 1.4 Active Inclusion
  • 1.5 Community Led Local Development

Priority Axis 2: Skills for Growth

  • 2.1 Access to Lifelong Learning
  • 2.2 Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems

How to apply

To be eligible for ERDF or ESF funding applicants must be a legally constituted body, and not an individual or sole trader. You can find more information about eligibility here: ESIF Eligibility Guidance.

The UK Government issues calls for each fund on a regular basis, which can be checked here: ESIF calls

Applications are a two-stage process, with an initial outline application which assesses value for money, followed by a more detailed application.

Newcastle City Council manages the Community Led Local Development programme (CLLD) and provides funding from both ERDF & ESF funds to local organisations. Visit the CLLD website for more information on how to apply to that fund.

The North East Technical Assistance (NE-TA) Project is part-funded by the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme. The ESIF Programme comprises two of the main European Funding programmes, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF).

The aim of the NE-TA Project is to encourage potential partners and providers to understand the nature, range and scope of ESIF opportunities; allowing them to be better informed and to contribute to their delivery as appropriate.

The NE-TA Project provides technical advisory support, ensuring that quality proposals are designed in accordance with ESIF and national funding requirements. The NE-TA team facilitate wide ranging access to the opportunities contained in the ESIF programme, through stakeholder engagement, capacity building activity and increases the visibility of ESIF funding across the North East LEP area.

The NE-TA team is made up of officers working in a range of organisations who have the expertise to support those interested in making successful applications to the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The project aims:

  • to raise awareness of the England 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme with partners, through delivering information and awareness raising events.
  • to support the efficient and compliant management and implementation of the ESIF Programme to help ensure that performance targets are achieved and that ESIF projects comply with applicable law.

As part of the NE-TA Project Newcastle City Council is able to provide advisory support to ESIF project applicants in Newcastle upon Tyne in order to promote the design and development of compliant projects at both outline and full application stages. We are very interested in hearing from organisations who are developing  ideas for future projects and who wish to share these ideas with TA officers prior to making a formal application.

For a discussion around calls and/or support to develop a proposal for the Newcastle upon Tyne area please contact:

Summary of ERDF projects in Newcastle

  • The Biosphere - this project will create a new life science & knowledge building on the Newcastle Helix site in Newcastle upon Tyne by designing, building, securing operator and dedicated business acceleration and support services for a bespoke commercial laboratory facility for private sector, science based and knowledge intensive businesses. Visit for more information.
  • Business Energy Savings Team - this project provides an intensive energy efficiency support programme for up to 250 SME's in Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland and Sunderland. It will help SME's achieve reductions in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, thereby increasing business resilience and adaptive capacity. A fully funded energy efficiency audit will identify improvements and will work with the business to develop a plan to achieve these savings. A limited capital grant will also be available for eligible businesses to apply for, which would help to fund the capital cost of improvements identified in the audit. This project has awarded it's first grant to The JMF Group to help fund a new air to heat pump saving them money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.           
  • Pathways to Innovation - this programme is designed to help SME's protect and commercialise new technologies, products, services and processes and access new markets. It is delivered by RTC North in partnership with the Business & Intellectual Property Centre Newcastle.
  • North of Tyne Community Led Local Development - this is a locally managed funding programme that targets selected areas in Newcastle upon Tyne and Wallsend. It supports local groups rooted in their communities to suggest, design and deliver projects that help grow jobs and businesses, improve people's opportunities and enhance local life. This is also part funded by European Social Fund.  For more information visit the CLLD project website.
  • Low Carbon Energy Centre – this project comprises capital and revenue activities. The Low Carbon Energy Centre is a new plant facility designed to provide the Helix site in Newcastle with heat, cooling and power to all buildings in a way that is phased alongside the proposed masterplan. It will be constructed on Plot 5 on the southern boundary of the site and will require a total capital investment of nearly £17m including £3.6m of ERDF
  • Go Ultra Low North East - the project, is delivered by the North East Combined Authority (NECA), and will research the most effective configurations of new and innovative electric vehicle (EV) rapid charging infrastructure, to enable an economically sustainable roll out of the technology and support the objectives for take up of EVs in the North East.  It includes activities to advance research and innovation and stimulate the EV supply chain, and capital investment in the infrastructure, i.e. an EV filling station in Sunderland and eight rapid chargers clusters around the region. The project will support small business to take advantage of EVs and rapid charging facilities and to innovate in the area of rapid charging and EVs.

Summary of ESF Projects in Newcastle

  • North of Tyne Community Led Local Development - this is a locally managed funding programme that targets selected areas in Newcastle upon Tyne and Wallsend to help local groups rooted in their communities to suggest, design and deliver projects that improve access to employment, training opportunities and enterprise, and enhance local life. This is also part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
  • Generation North East - this project will provide employability and job search support to over 2500 unemployed or inactive young people aged 18-29 years old in Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside. It will help young people progress towards and into employment. Click this link for more details and to enquire about the support available Generation NE website.

Sustainable Urban Development 

This ERDF fund is managed by Newcastle City Council as Intermediate Body on behalf of the six local authority areas in the North East LEP area (Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Gateshead and Sunderland) and has been created under the following two priorities:

  • Supporting the Shift Towards a Low Carbon Economy in all Sectors (£18.52m)
  • Promoting Climate change Adaptation, Risk Prevention and Management (£2.97m)

It addresses three key challenges:

  • Sustainable energy systems and networks;
  • Sustainable Transport choices
  • Sustainable infrastructure and investment.

Download the North East SUD strategy here

A fourth Call was launched on 28 June 2019, with a deadline of 30 September 2019. Details available here

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