When Latvia entered the European Union, EU Structural Funds for the economic and social development of Member States – the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund became available.
The planning of EU Structural Funds and areas to be supported covers a period of seven years. In the programming period of 2007-2013 EU fund support is foreseen mainly for the development of education and innovative technologies as well as science and research in order to promote the creation of a knowledge-based and sustainable economy and the improvement of the quality of life in Latvia.
What is the European Social Fund?
The purpose of the European Social Fund (ESF) is to invest in human resources, thereby supporting the development and quality of and access to education and science.
Latvia receives support for education from the ESF since 2004. In the period from 2004 to 2006 ESF support for education comprised 48.4 million lats. Whereas in the 2007-2013 structural fund implementation period ESF funding for the development of education and science is earmarked at 300.4 million EUR: 58.8 million EUR for science and 241.6 million EUR for education.
ESF funding for the education and science sector is intended for:
- Improving competencies of teachers and academic staff;
- Motivating students to continue their studies at master’s and doctoral degree level, in particular in the fields of natural sciences, technologies and engineering;
- Increasing the quality of general and vocational education and of education programmes;
- Increasing access to lifelong learning for all age groups;
- Strengthening cooperation among institutions which hold responsibility for education and lifelong learning.
What is the European Regional Development Fund?
The priority of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is the development of infrastructure and innovations in order to develop a knowledge-based society.
The ERDF was established in 1975. Latvia receives funding for the development of education and science from this fund as of 2004. In the 2007-2013 planning period within the framework of the action programmes “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” and “Infrastructure and Services” investments in the development of science and education infrastructure are planned at 580 million EUR (300 MEUR for education and 280 MEUR for science).
ERDF funding in the education and science sector is planned for:
- Outfitting work places for newly recruited scientists and upgrading scientific and research equipment;
- Promoting and developing international cooperation in science;
- Improving infrastructure and facilities for vocational and general education;
- Modernizing facilities and equipment at higher education institutions, particularly for studies in natural sciences, technologies and engineering;
- Ensuring access to education for persons with functional disabilities.
How and who can receive funding from EU Structural Funds?
Funding from the EU Structural Funds for the education and science sector can be received by scientific institutions, public administration offices, government institutions and state-owned companies which perform public administrative functions, local governments, education establishments, as well as other legal bodies registered in the Republic of Latvia who:
- Correspond to the financial beneficiary status foreseen by the activity in question;
- Have elaborated a project proposal which complies with the criteria set out in respective regulations;
- Have submitted the project proposal within the indicated deadline;
- Have successfully passed the evaluation criteria and signed a contract/agreement on project implementation.
What is the role of VIAA – the State Education Development Agency (SEDA) in the acquisition of EU Structural Funds?
SEDA functions during 2007-2013 are:
- Project selection and approval for ESF open call for application projects;
- Management of project implementation, contracting, monitoring of project results;
- Financial control and on the spot checks;
- Checking and approval of requests for payment, preparation of declarations of expenditure;
- Information and publicity events at activity level.
Activities of the Agency, including the development and maintenance of this home page are co-financed by the European Union.