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The Grant Programmes of the EU

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 28 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
Eu Grant Programmes Grants Policies

The European Union runs grant programmes that match its policies. In other words, it’s possible to apply for grants to pursue projects that relate to EU strategies. Because of the diverse nature of these strategies, grants are available in all manner of areas. The list is long and includes agriculture, communication, culture, education, health, sport and transport.


As an example, take the environment. The EU has two grant funding streams for this area: its general funding opportunities, and its eco-innovation programme. The general funding refers to the award of grants for environmental projects. These must promote EU policies both within Europe and elsewhere. Since 1992, the EU has made grants of more than €1.3 billion under the general funding scheme.

The eco-innovation programme gives grants to support new services and products. These must ensure the best use of Europe’s natural resources. Between 2008 and 2013, the EU has €200 million for eco-innovation grants.


Each of the grant programmes has its own rules. There are, however, some common features: to start with, only one grant is available for each project, a grant must also be for a proposed project and not one that’s already up and running. Furthermore, a grant cannot result in a profit – it must only lead to a project breaking even. Finally, a grant will not cover 100% of a project’s costs, unless the project occurs outside the EU.

Who Can Claim?

Most claims for grants under the EU programme come from public or private bodies. A claim from an individual is unlikely to succeed.

Making A Claim

The first thing to consider is the nature of the project. Does it, as mentioned above, promote an EU policy or policies? Anyone working in a certain industry may already know the answer to this. In fact, the project may have come about as a result of an EU policy. If not, the applicant must research relevant EU documents and legislation. There’s no point in pursuing a grant application unless the beneficial impact of the project on a policy is clear.

The second point to bear in mind is the basis on which the EU chooses a project. They will whether a grant applicant can ensure a project will actually happen. In other words, an application must have credibility. Has the applicant completed similar projects, for instance, and can the applicant find money from another source for the project?

With these issues settled, the next stage is to complete the grant form. However, the EU does not give grants case-by-case. It builds them into an annual funding programme. Therefore, anyone who wants an EU grant must check for the “calls for proposals”. These are invitations to apply for grants. They have terms based on the subject area, and clear deadlines. The “calls for proposals” appear on EU Internet sites. They are also in the Official Journal of the European Union.


The EU tells all grant applicants if they’re successful. In the event of success, the EU publishes details on the Web. This is because the grants are public money, and any information about them must be freely available.

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