ERDF – European Regional Development Fund

The ERDF aims to reduce disparities in the level of development of the various regions of the European Union and to improve living conditions in the structurally weakest regions. Particular attention shall be paid to areas with severe or permanent natural or demographic handicaps, such as the northernmost regions of Europe with very low population density and the European island, cross-border and mountain regions. The ERDF budget for 2021 – 2027 is EUR 200.36 billion.

The ERDF would like to make Europe and its regions

  • more competitive and smarter through innovation and support for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as digitalisation and digital connectivity;
  • greener, lower carbon and more resilient;
  • to enable more connectivity by improving mobility;
  • to provide more social services, support for effective and inclusive employment, education, skills, social inclusion and equal access to health care, and to strengthen the role of culture and sustainable tourism;
  • to bring them closer to citizens and enable support for local development and sustainable urban development across the EU.

The following areas are excluded from ERDF funding:

  • the decommissioning or construction of nuclear power plants;
  • airport infrastructures (with the exception of the outermost regions);
  • some waste management measures (e.g. landfills).

Furthermore, the ERDF promotes “European territorial cooperation” (Interreg programmes). Almost EUR 10 billion will be available from the ERDF for this purpose in the period 2021 – 2027.

Bavarian ERDF programme

The Bavarian ERDF programme, which focuses on “Investment in employment and growth”, promotes equal living and working conditions throughout Bavaria and sets priorities in the areas of innovation, SME support, climate and environmental protection and for municipalities. For this area, EUR 577 million is available in Bavaria from 2021 – 2027. The following shall be funded:

Funding area 1: Innovation and competitiveness:

Funding area 1 consists of six funding measures. These are as follows:

  • Non-university research infrastructure
  • Technology transfer from universities to SMEs
  • Inter-company training centres for securing skilled workers for SMEs
  • Investments by SMEs
  • Internationalisation of SMEs
  • Investments in SMEs

Funding area 2: Climate and environmental protection

Funding area 2 consists of eight funding measures. These are as follows:

  • Energy efficiency in government infrastructure
  • Energy efficiency in municipal infrastructure
  • Energy efficiency in SMEs
  • Bioeconomy production facilities
  • Flood protection and geohazard information map
  • Safety measures against gravitational mass movements
  • Green infrastructure
  • Remediation of industrial sites and contaminated sites

Bavaria is involved in several projects in the focus area of “European territorial cooperation”. You can find more information here.

Exploiting synergies and combining funding instruments: Horizon Europe and the ERDF

Since Horizon 2020 a new requirement has found its way into many tender texts: In addition to the requested funds, applicants need to actively seek complementary financing opportunities – for example, funding from the ERDF structural fund. BayFOR can provide both strategic advice and active support in terms of linking Horizon-Europe and ERDF projects. BayFOR has had very good experiences in bringing together existing projects and thereby achieving added value for all parties involved. The following must be taken into account here:

  • the Bavarian “Smart Specialisation Strategy”. In this context, also take a look at the map of Bavarian ERDF assisted areas under the focus area “Investment for growth and jobs” (German): You can find information on the assisted areas in Bavaria within the framework of INTERREG here.
  • the specific regulations regarding individual programmes;
  • current projects in Bavaria and all over Europe that could be candidates for matching.

This is where BayFOR comes into play. BayFOR has been a member of the Monitoring Committee of the ERDF Bavaria programme since 2014. We would be glad to hear from any project managers who are interested in gaining such added value.

REACT-EU (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe)

Another funding instrument implemented through the existing ERDF and ESF programmes of the expiring funding period 2014 – 2020 is REACT-EU. REACT-EU aims to cushion the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. However, these funds are not only used to manage crises and alleviate the consequences of crises, but also to build a bridge to the long-term green, digital and stable recovery of the economy. Throughout Europe, REACT-EU, which runs until the end of 2023, has a budget of EUR 47.5 billion. For Bavaria, this means around an additional EUR 180 million for the Bavarian ERDF programme. REACT-EU supports the following areas in the Bavarian ERDF:

  • Non-university research infrastructure
  • A financial instrument for SMEs
  • Energy savings in companies
  • Flood protection and drinking water protection
  • An EU inner city funding initiative for Bavarian cities and municipalities
  • Municipal tourism infrastructure

Watch also a video about REACT-EU with a statement of the managing director of the Bavarian Research Alliance Martin Reichel (German):


M. Sc. Sebastian Botzler

M. Sc. Sebastian Botzler
Scientific Officer
Environment, Energy & Bioeconomy
Phone: +49 89 9901888-123


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