There are a large number of funding programmes originating in the EU (more than 400) that Bedfordshire projects may be eligible to apply for. These range from programmes that are administered nationally (like European Social Fund) to others (like Culture 2007) that are administered from Brussels and require partners from other EU states and transnational working.
The Europa website of the European Commission has a section devoted to Grants from the EU.
In addition, detail of most domestic and European programmes can be accessed through GRANTnet. This online tool has been sponsored by Central Bedfordshire council and can be used by any partners, stakeholders or residents in the area to identify funding.
The current EU funding cycle began in 2007 and the majority of the current programmes will finish funding activities by 2014. This means that most of the funding programmes will be soon be starting the long process of revision and re-launch over the next few years.
Delivered on a regional basis, this competitiveness and employment programme has “Low Carbon Growth” as it’s overarching theme. The 2007-13 funding programme will be administered in the East of England by EEDA until 1 July 2011, and afterwards by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The programme operates a quarterly programme of bidding rounds that will continue after the changeover.
Linked to the Common Agricultural Policy most of the funding of this £3.9bn scheme is allocated to national agri-environment and other land management schemes.
The remaining £600 million is be targeted to make agriculture and forestry more competitive and sustainable and to enhance opportunity in rural areas. This support will be delivered in the East of England by and further information on the priorities and principles of operation in this region can be found on the EEDA website.
Within this regional element of the RDPE 25% is ring-fenced to projects coming from a specific community level – the LEADER approach. The Greensands Ridge was successful in obtaining Leader status and £2.4m for projects in the area.
Of the many other funds that are available the following may be of most interest:
LIFE plus: this programme is the main financial instrument for funding the environment.
Culture 2007: this is the main European programme that funds projects in the field of culture and the arts.
Lifelong Learning: incorporating the former Leonardo and Socrates programmes this integrated programme provides funding for links, exchanges and joint projects for all levels of education from nursery to adult education.
Framework 7: this is a wide ranging and substantial programme for research and technological development.