Operational Programme 'Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland'

Programme under the Competitiveness and Employment Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

United Kingdom

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On 27 September 2007, the European Commission approved a Regional Operational Programme for the Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland that will run from 2007 to 2013. The Programme operates within the Competitiveness and Employment Objective framework and has a total budget of about €910 million. Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) comes to about €376 million, which is approximately 3.5% of the total money invested in the United Kingdom through the European Union’s Cohesion Policy (2007-13).

1. Purpose and aim of the Programme

The Lowlands and Uplands region of Scotland has a few urban centres, but is essentially rural in nature. Its main economic activities take place in the ‘central belt’ that stretches from Glasgow in the west to Edinburgh in the east – an area which features the highest population density in Scotland.

The Programme has two main goals:

  • To develop a region-wide focus on research, innovation and enterprise growth in key areas of economic competitiveness; and
  • To develop a geographical focus that centres on urban regeneration and rural development. Work here will recognise the distinctive problems that arise from severe urban deprivation, and acknowledge the special needs of the region’s most peripheral and rural areas.

2. Expected impact of the investment

The Programme is expected to create 25 600 jobs and 5 500 new businesses. The investment should increase turnover in supported enterprises by about €380 million. Assistance will be offered to more than 4 000 businesses for the implementation of environmental audits and the introduction of energy-saving systems. In addition, the Programme will directly co-finance 240 projects that are dedicated to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

3. Priority axes

The Programme is structured around the following priorities:

Priority axis 1: Research and innovation [approximately 22.5% of total funding]

The ERDF will support significant projects that will underpin research and innovation in the region’s key sectors, which include: aerospace, chemicals, digital media, electronics, energy, life sciences, and micro- and opto-metrics. Renewable energy will be given particular emphasis. This priority will focus on supporting high-growth enterprises and research centres, and will encourage networking between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and research partners.

Priority axis 2: Priority 2: Enterprise growth [approximately 33.6% of total funding]

This priority will address market failure in access to finance (mainly risk capital). To enhance business competitiveness, the Programme will promote e-commerce and the use of energy efficiency systems.

Priority axis 3: Urban regeneration [approximately 27.9% of total funding]

This geographically targeted priority will address the needs of the most disadvantaged urban communities. Activities to promote physical regeneration will include improving workspace and training facilities.

Priority axis 4: Rural development [approximately 14.0% of total funding]

The focus here will be on helping rural areas that share similarities such as low population densities, sparse settlement patterns and valuable natural heritage and culture resources. The aim is to strengthen rural industries and promote diversification, while supporting key shared services and tackling accessibility issues.

Priority axis 5: Technical issues [approximately 2.0% of total funding]

Technical assistance can be harnessed to help implement the Programme.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Research and innovation 92 109 671 112 578 487 204 688 158
Enterprise growth 122 186 299 183 279 449 305 465 748
Urban regeneration 101 508 618 152 262 925 253 771 543
Rural development 51 130 268 76 695 402 127 825 670
Technical assistance 9 022 988 9 022 990 18 045 978
Total 375 957 844 533 839 253 909 797 097