European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is one of the five ESIF funds and focusses on strengthening economic and social cohesion in the European Union. The aim is to correct imbalances between the development levels of different regions in the European Union.

The current ERDF programme has four focus areas:

  • Innovation and research
  • The digital agenda
  • Support for SMEs
  • Achieving a low-carbon economy

Programmes under the ERDF can be divided in two categories:

The majority of the budget for the period 2021-2027 will target smart growth and the green economy.

What is the relevance for Circular Cities?

Cooperation programmes and calls for proposals of many Interreg programmes have focused on circularity in the last years. At least 6% of the ERDF resources is dedicated to reduce economic, environmental and social problems in urban areas. This emphasis on circularity, sustainable development, and the urban context makes ERDF very relevant for circular cities.

In the light of funding circular city initiatives, the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative deserves special attention. This UIA provides support for innovative ideas and urban authorities in their efforts to ensure sustainable urban development.

The ERDF will also support the European Urban Initiative external link icon, which is a new initiative that aims to be a coherent approach to capacity building, innovative actions, knowledge, policy development and communication for all cities, including support to the Urban Agenda of the EU external link icon.

How to apply?

Applying for the programmes in the ERDF is possible via specific national, regional, interregional or international authorities. Find your managing authority here external link icon.

Do you want to directly apply for projects under the Urban Innovative Actions? Check open calls for proposals here external link icon.