"A quick guide to EU funding" is an edition published by Deloitte Limited, Grants & Incentives Unit, responding to the need of researchers, public and private sector entities, and the community in general for quick, concise and accurate information on funding opportunities available through the Competitive Programmes of the European Union (EU). It constitutes a simple tool for providing the key information available to those with an interest in EU funding for the period 2014-2020, such as the budget available, beneficiaries, thematic categories, programme and sub-programme details, supported actions, level of funding and links for more information.

The main objective of the guide is to serve as a starting point for identifying the funding opportunities available that match the proposers' themes and project requirements. Potential proposers are thus equipped with the basic information that is necessary before studying thoroughly the Work Programmes of each programme that is of interest to them and identifying the Open Calls for Proposals, which are appealing to them.

EU Funding Programmes

In March 2010, the Commission adopted its communication Europe 2020, a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, designed to deliver a high level of employment, productivity and social cohesion. According to José Manuel Barroso, "The Commission is proposing five measurable EU targets for 2020 that will steer the process and be translated into national targets: for employment; for research and innovation; for climate change and energy; for education; and for combating poverty" 1. In order to achieve these targets pursued through the EU policies, a wide range of Competitive Programmes are adopted providing to different types of beneficiaries financial support, in the fields related to the different EU policies.

EU Competitive Programmes are programmes financed directly from the EU's budget in the form of grants and cover priorities, as defined by the EU and aimed at contributing to the implementation of EU policies. They are administrated by the European Commission and are competitive and transnational, thus participation of partners from more than one member states is often required in order to submit a proposal. These programmes are managed at central European level, without the intervention of the Institutions of the Member State. The proposals submitted compete with proposals from all Member states and successful proposals are selected after a comparative evaluation of all proposals submitted.

EU Competitive Programmes in this Guide

This guide presents briefly the Programmes of the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020 2, which have already been adopted by the European Parliament and are managed centrally by the European Commission.

Funds whose management is shared between the EU and the Member States, such as Structural Funds or Cohesion Funds, are not included in the present edition.

The main Programmes of the 2014-2020 period which are also presented in the guide are Horizon with a budget of €77,03 billion, Connecting Europe Facility with €21,94 billion and Erasmus+ with €14,8 billion (all amounts are in current prices). The guide also includes programmes covering other important policies of the EU (i.e. Employment and Social Innovation programme, LIFE programme, Consumer programme, Creative Europe, etc.)

Geographical Coverage

Participating countries are usually divided into two groups: Programme Countries and Partner Countries. Programme Countries include the 28 Member States, the European Free Trading Association Countries/European Economic Area – EFTA/ EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Candidate Countries under Framework Agreement. Partner Countries include third countries that are contributing financially to the programmes' budget and have signed in this respect a Memorandum of Understanding.

Moreover, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) for EU candidate and potential candidate countries is available, with which the EU continues to offer its support during the period 2014-2020 with regard to the technical and financial assistance that is necessary for improving the situation and developing sustainability with the emphasis on political, institutional, legal, administrative, social, and economic reforms that will align their practices to EU standards.

Neighbouring Partner Countries may also participate in certain programmes, as defined in the Annual Work Programmes, subject to conditions. These include the following:

  • South East Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo (under UNSC Resolution 1244/1999).
  • Eastern Europe and Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine.
  • Mediterranean Partner Countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Syria, Tunisia.

Finally, wider cooperation with other non-European third countries will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the activities contemplated.

To read this Report in full, please click here.


1. COM(2010)2020

2. The functioning of the MFF 2014-20 will be reviewed by the Commission in 2016 taking full account of the economic situation at the time as well as the latest macroeconomic projections. (http://ec.europa.eu/budget/mff/introduction/index_en.cfm)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.