External Funding Service

European Union Funding

Bidding for European money is most relevant for large-scale or international projects which provide benefit or involvement to the wider European community. It can be tough, and is frequently bureaucratic, but is often the only way to fund those ambitious research projects or expensive international development proposals. Most of these funding programmes will be administered through calls for proposals, available from the relevant websites.

Culture 2007

Funding projects which encourage heritage activities in order to celebrate Europe’s cultural diversity. Largely supporting international and cross-border cooperation projects.

European Social Fund (ESF)

Support for development of employability skills and provision of assistance into employment. This can be in the form of training, internships or engagement activities. ESF is run on a national level.

Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP)

The European Commission’s education programme covers all stages of education:

  • Comenius
    Schools: Pre-primary through Upper Secondary
  • Erasmus
    HE exchanges and co-operation between universities/colleges
  • Leonardo
    Vocational education/training and similar FE
  • Grundtvig
    Adult Education
  • Transversal
    Policy, Languages, ICT, Dissemination of programme outcomes
  • Jean Monnet
    European integration in the field of education


Provision of funding for large-scale environmental projects with significant “EU added value” (being strongly of benefit to the European community). Projects can be conservation, research, demonstration or facility-focused but must have an international element.


Any work supporting the EC’s Social Agenda may be eligible for funding. This includes social solidarity, equal opportunities, employment and accessibility actions. Most calls will require an international element.


Currently in it’s fourth period (Interreg IV), this programme supports international cooperation, divided into three strands funding different areas of the continent:

  • Strand A - Cross-border cooperation (Between contiguous countries within small, predefined regions such as SE England & NW France)
  • Strand B - Transnational cooperation (Usually between non-contiguous countries, in larger areas such as NW Europe)
  • Strand C - Interregional cooperation (Between large international consortia across the entire European Union and occasionally beyond)


The European Commission’s main vehicle for funding research & development projects, the Framework Programme (The ‘FP’ of FP7) has earned a reputation for being bureaucratic and long-winded. However, it is often the only way to fund R&D proposals and there is a lot of support out there if you know where to look.