ESPON Programme

ESPON in a nutshell

ESPON is an EU-funded programme that supports authorities
responsible for development policies with quality expertise.

Discover the new ESPON programme


The ESPON 2030 Programme was adopted by the European Commission on 6 July 2022. Click here to download the programme.

Target groups

Beyond getting the general public intrigued, ESPON’s activities primarily target at the three following groups:

  • Policy-makers (in the narrow sense, such as elected representatives and decision-makers);
  • Policy-enablers (such as policy officers and thematic experts in public administrations and other type of public organisations in the field of territorial development);
  • Scientists and researchers.

ESPON addresses public actors at all administrative levels, EU national, regional and local level taking into their specific needs and strategies.

Programme budget

The total budget of ESPON for the programming period 2021- 2027 is EUR 60 million, whereof the EU contribution is 80% (EUR 48 million) and the contribution of the 27 member states is 20% (EUR 12 million). In addition, the ESPON 2030 Programme receives support of EUR 1,7 million from the 4 Partner States (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland).

Thematic scope

ESPON creates evidence and knowledge for policy-makers. We develop studies based on the needs of European public authorities at all levels. Local, regional or national authority as well as an EU institution can express their needs for policy support in the thematic framework of the programme.

All ESPON studies include a territorial dimension and our analyses are adjusted to the specificity and needs of the people and the places we are looking at. The territorial, cross-sectoral and functional perspective is the cornerstone of ESPON’s evidence and knowledge. This approach shall support public stakeholders to find appropriate and coordinated policy responses across sectors and governmental levels to the advantage of European citizens.

In this context, the ESPON programme is built around two overarching topics covering the most emerging issues and challenges to cohesion and the harmonious development of European territories.

In that perspective, our activities are clustered within Thematic Action Plans (TAPs) whose themes are defined thanks to an extensive consultation and are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee.

How is ESPON delivered?

The activities of the ESPON 2030 are organised in the two following strands:

How to participate?

Public consultation

A public consultation was conducted online from June to August 2020 and aimed at collecting views on what ESPON should focus on, in particular:

  • The emerging territorial challenges ahead;
  • The specific territorial evidence needed in order to tackle them; and
  • The specific support in terms of knowledge development that is most useful to be provided by ESPON in the future.

Targeted respondents were policy-makers and practitioners from all administrative levels, researchers, academia, students and citizens, with particular interest for those who think that “territory matters” and that a place-based and territorial approach leads to a better understanding of the challenges ahead.

The ESPON Managing Authority carefully considered the results of the public consultation to draft the programme proposal.


The aim of the evaluations is to improve the quality and the design and implementation of the ESPON 2030 Programme. In that context, the Managing Authority has developed an Evaluation Plan available here.

The evaluation papers and reports will be available here.

Data protection

As the ESPON Managing Authority collects and further processes personal data, it is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation No 679/2016 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC. Regarding the collection and processing of personal data, operations are undertaken under the responsibility of the ESPON Managing Authority.

Click here to access our data protection policy.

List of beneficiaries: Single beneficiary and single operation

The Priority Axis 1 of ESPON 2030 programme will be implemented by the ESPON EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation), which is therefore designated as Single Beneficiary of the Programme. The entire Priority Axis 1 of the Programme will be implemented by one Single Operation assigned to the Single Beneficiary.

Timeframe of the Single Operation



The Single Operation, in accordance with the Interreg specific objective of ‘Better Cooperation Governance’ and Priority 1 of the ESPON 2030 Cooperation Programme, aims to improve the capacity of stakeholders to design and implement appropriate and coordinated policy actions across sectors and governmental levels by means of the territorial evidence – produced and translated into actionable knowledge.

The term ‘actionable’ knowledge implies that the territorial evidence produced under the Single Operation will be understood and made usable by stakeholders at all levels, in:

  • Strengthening the recovery and resilience of EU territories from the crises.
  • Helping achieve green transition to climate-neutral economies and societies.
  • Ensuring at the same time just living conditions for all people in all places.

In order to trigger the capacity of stakeholders to design and implement appropriate and coordinated policy actions across sectors and governmental levels, the SO works on two key pillars (the specific aims):

  • To provide high-quality territorial evidence, which will address the gaps suitable for the ESPON Programme to tackle (demonstrating the ESPON niche and added value vis-à-vis the peers), and
  • To translate the evidence into knowledge, which will fully meet stakeholders’ needs, i.e. matches their expectations in terms of e.g. the scope, the geographical scale, and the timing and format of outputs, and which will lead to effective policy uptake of outcomes of the SO activities.


ERDF      43,944,445.00 €

MS         12,000,000.00 €

PS           1,684,929.00 €


Total      57,629,374.00 €


Intervention field

170. Improve the capacity of programme authorities and bodies linked to the implementation of the Funds

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