ESIF matters some more

Featuring Andrew Richards | 17th August, 2017

Comments from ESIF masterclass

Last week I attended European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) masterclass.

One of my colleagues recently blogged after attending a previous event in the series; listed below are a few reminders given during the presentation for anyone thinking of making an application:

Area Point made in masterclass
Strategic Priorities Try and make the appraisal officer’s life as easy as possible by putting how you are meeting the national and local priorities in tabular format in the application. They want to be able to see you’ve met the criteria.
Project rationale When explaining the rationale for the project and the demand for it, detail what work has been completed other than saying “it’s needed”.

What third parties have been consulted? An email survey from a well-known online survey provider is very quick and helps build weight to the case.

Market failure (leading to the project) When trying to assess market failure to give weight to the project, the Green Book from the .gov website can be a helpful resource.
Technical jargon Try to not use too much technical jargon, the appraisal officer needs to understand the application!
State aid State aid can be (or is) complicated and you will need to get independent legal advice as the managing authority cannot advise.
Procurement Procurement is the largest area where errors lead to grant application money being withdrawn – pay close attention to the process required. Do it right the first time, and ensure you are meeting the procurement requirements based on the amount of expenditure.

We can, of course, assist with an application and there is the free resource of Cornwall Development Company’s TA support team, and others, who can provide you with an impartial review of a draft application to give you feedback on the areas below.

ERDF supported programmes – more information on Agri-tech Cornwall

One of the most recently launched ERDF funded programmes is Agri-tech Cornwall. I have blogged about Agri-tech Cornwall before, but I was fortunate enough to meet Robin Jackson recently who is leading the programme with some of my colleagues. Useful information relayed to us included:

  1. The programme is about being innovative and helping to improve productivity with new methods and systems driven by technology. It is not providing funds for existing projects that can already be met by the market place. There are other potential grant funding sources for this, such as LEADER or RDPE Growth Programme.
  2. The grant vouchers for RDI will be administrated by Cornwall Development Company (CDC) and there will be news released shortly on this. We understand the maximum intervention rates are to be around 75% for SMEs.
  3. CDC will also be running workshops on a variety of subjects where RDI projects are sought – including Bovine TB; Preserving and Enhancing Soil – as well as running a Young Innovators Group.
  4. Examples of how the scheme will work in practice, specifically regarding collaborative research, will be with us soon and I will look to keep you updated when we hear more from Agri-tech Cornwall.
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