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New funding rounds open to develop R&D, carbon reduction and resource efficiency projects

Three new rounds of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) have opened to help Cumbrian businesses take forward Research & Development (R&D), carbon reduction and resource efficiency projects.

£8.7m in total is being made available to help support the county’s continuing drive to develop stronger R&D capabilities and move towards a more energy efficient, low carbon economy. The latest ERDF funding calls are open until 23 November 2018, with funding expected to be awarded through to 2020.

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership is helping to manage the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) programme up to 2020, which includes ERDF as well as the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Up to £4m of ERDF funding is available for projects supporting growth in R&D across the county. Cumbria LEP is looking for project applicants who are seeking to create new R&D space to help SMEs grow, realise innovation potential and increase their productivity. They could also be looking to establish packages of highly specialised support to help local businesses conduct more R&D work using high tech facilities.

For further information on this funding call, potential applicants should visit:

A further £3.4m has been earmarked for business support packages designed to make local SMEs more energy efficient, provide innovative, low carbon solutions and introduce new sources of energy generation and storage. For further information on this funding call, applicants should visit:

The remaining £1.3m will be applied to projects which can increase resource efficiency and promote bio-diversity by maximising the county’s natural capital. For further information on this funding call, applicants should visit:

Cumbria LEP chief executive Jo Lappin says: “These funding calls are an opportunity for businesses to secure funding for innovative R&D and energy generation and efficiency projects. Energy is a major sector for the Cumbrian economy and our aim is to help develop our low carbon and power-generation capabilities.

“It’s vital that the county takes advantage of the funds still available under the 2014-2020 ESIF programme as it still has two years to run, so we urge businesses to get in touch with us directly if they have a project that they think may be eligible.

“After 2020, the replacement of European Structural Investment Funds will be important for local business support, skills development and the rural economy. Cumbria LEP is already contributing to consultations on proposals for the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), the Government’s intended replacement for the ESIF funding streams thereafter.”

The new rounds of ERDF funding coincide with Green GB week, which is running from 15 to 19 October and is promoting the scale of the opportunities to reduce emissions, grow the low carbon economy and create a better environment.

Activities will bring together businesses, schools, colleges, universities, community groups, and charities to explore how clean growth will change our futures and contribute to action on climate change.

The European Regional Development Fund aims to provide support for research and innovation activities, SME business creation and the growth and creation of a low carbon economy. The minimum ERDF request is £500,000. Businesses can apply for ERDF investment support if they have major plans for their business which meet the eligibility criteria of the funding call.

For those who have been thinking about applying for ERDF funding but have not been through the process before, there is Technical Assistance support available through Cumbria LEP for applicants to help them ensure that they are developing a compliant application.

For further information about available funding and how to apply, contact Corinne Watson at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership by emailing

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