By Remco van der Zouw
In this article on grants consultancy, I want to look at a European funding opportunity known as Interreg North-West Europe (NWE). In the past year, a couple of UK local authorities have reached out to me to support them with a bid for Interreg funding. Interreg NWE has a total available budget of €370 million of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF), but the process of securing funds has previously been described as confusing and unnecessarily complex.
With this article I want to elaborate a bit on Interreg NWE, hoping it will provide you with the right amount of information to decide if this grant programme is of interest for your organisation, helping your region to prosper in the future. I will also set out how Idox can help you navigate the application procedure to maximise your chances of securing funding.
The Interreg NWE Programme involves the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and parts of France, Germany and the Netherlands. It has an area of 845,000 km² and is home to 180 million people. The area is considered to be one of the most dynamic and prosperous areas of Europe, but also faces a number of environmental, social and economic needs and challenges.
A wide range of organisations can apply to the Interreg programme, which is one of the key instruments of the European Union (EU) supporting cooperation across borders through project funding. Interreg NWE is one of the many Interreg programmes the UK currently participates in*. It supports projects that will deliver concrete results to improve the quality of life of citizens and reduce disparities within the regions.
Public or private organisations (established as legal entities) – including universities and local authorities – are eligible for funding. Projects must be organised by a partnership of at least three organisations from three different countries. The lead organisation of the partnership should be from the not-for-profit sector. At least two of the partners must be from a region within the North-West Europe area.
Interreg NWE offers co-financing of up to 60% of project costs to support work that addresses one of its three priorities: innovation, low carbon and resource & materials efficiency. More specifically it seeks to: improve the innovation capacity and competitiveness of SMEs or other enterprises from North-West Europe (innovation); reduce greenhouse gas emissions, developing sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures (low carbon); and new ways to produce more value with fewer materials (resource & materials efficiency).
There are a multitude of projects that have been funded with UK partners. To give an illustration I will give an example of one ongoing UK-led project for each of the above themes.
A total of 94 UK organisations have received funding from the Interreg NWE programme worth almost €52 million in the current programme period (2014-2020); resulting in an average of €552,247 per UK partner. Companies such as Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd and Viridian Energy Supply Ltd have received the largest amounts with their funding in the range of €2.5–€3.5 million.
Other UK beneficiaries include knowledge institutions, such as University of Greenwich, Swansea University, University of Strathclyde; and companies, including Aquatera Ltd, Sensium Healthcare Ltd, Inlecom Systems Ltd. Local councils, such as Aberdeen City Council, Plymouth City Council, Hastings Borough Council and a number of non-profits have also been successful.
Interreg NWE calls are launched periodically, and applications follow a two-step procedure: a light application (step 1) followed by a full application (step 2), if your partnership is invited to submit. Call nine is currently open (priorities 1 and 3 only) and interested organisations can submit step 1 applications until 14 June 2019 (12:00 CET) for a decision in September 2019.
*For the complete list of Interreg programmes the UK (or parts of the UK) participate in please consult https://interreg.eu/
If you have any questions concerning support for your Interreg NWE project idea, please submit your details and Remco will get in touch.