Operational Programme 'Highlands and Islands of Scotland'
Programme under the Convergence Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
On 3 November 2007, the European Commission approved a Regional Operational Programme for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland for the period 2007-13. The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the Convergence Objective and has a total budget of about €291 million. Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to about €122 million, which represents approximately 1.1% of the total EU investment earmarked for the United Kingdom under the Cohesion Policy 2007-13.
1. Purpose and aim of the programme
With Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita rates at 90% of the EU average, the Highlands and Islands faces a number of challenges thanks to a unique combination of geographic isolation, insularity, low population density and a widely dispersed enterprise base.
Despite the low GDP figure and the enterprise sector’s relatively low levels of value added, the region enjoys near full-employment. The programme aims to make a difference by enhancing competitive and innovative businesses. It will also offer support to the region’s research base and its higher and further education networks. In addition, work will be undertaken to promote the region’s natural and cultural heritage and address issues related to community stability.
2. Expected impact of the investment
The Programme is expected to create 4 700 jobs and help to establish 150 new businesses. Support will be offered to 250 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for the implementation of environmental audits and the introduction of energy-saving systems. Funding will also be offered to about 30 research projects.
The Programme will provide support to the University of Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute (UHI). The UHI is a unique partnership of 15 colleges and research institutions. The network allows colleges throughout the region – along with students from remote areas – to better utilise information technology and thus create an effective virtual learning environment. The UHI aims to attain full university status and provide the region with a first-class research base, which should help it to attract and retain more students who would then be willing to stay and work in the region. Such an outcome will help the Highlands and Island address issues in fragile communities that are linked to falling population numbers.
The Programme is structured around the following priorities:Priority 1: Enhancing business competitiveness, commercialisation and innovation [approximately 40.8% of total funding]
This priority aims to expand the number and diversity of the region’s enterprises, while increasing their competitiveness. It will focus on a number of key sectors, including: renewable energy, food and drink, forestry, life sciences and new technologies in the nuclear decommissioning sector.Priority 2: Enhancing key drivers of sustainable growth [approximately 31.6% of total funding]
The Programme has identified three key drivers on which it will focus attention under this priority:
The sustainability of fragile communities living on the islands and in remote areas of the mainland is a particularly important issue. Many of these communities have limited access to services and suffer from out-migration and a weakened enterprise base. In response, this priority will focus on developing small-scale infrastructure projects that will provide enterprise-related facilities and training and e-skills centres. Renewable energy, transport and telecoms are subjects that will also receive Programme support.Priority 4: Technical assistance [approximately 2.5% of total funding]
Provision exists for technical assistance to help implement the Operational Programme.
4. Managing Authority
- Highlands and Islands of Scotland
- European Structural Funds Division
- Longman House
28 Longman Road
- UK-IV1 1RY Inverness - Scotland
- Jamie, DUNSMORE
- Tel.: +44 (0) 300 0201266
- Fax.: +44 (0)1463 279501
- E-mail.: Jamie.Dunsmore@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
- Web: The Scottish Government
- Title : Operational Programme 'Highlands and Islands of Scotland'
- Intervention Type : Operational Programme
- CCI no : 2007UK161PO001
- Number of decision : C/2007/4172
- Final approval date : 2007-11-03
- Breakdown of finances by priority axis
|Priority Axis||EU Investment||National Public Contribution||Total Public Contribution|
|Enhancing business competitiveness, commercialisation and innovation||47 526 332||71 289 496||118 815 828|
|Enhancing key drivers of sustainable growth||41 433 214||50 640 596||92 073 810|
|Enhancing the sustainable growth of peripheral and fragile communities||29 246 973||43 870 460||73 117 433|
|Technical assistance||3 655 873||3 655 873||7 311 746|
|Total||121 862 392||169 456 425||291 318 817|