The Programme Implementation

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Programme Rules

According to the legal framework of the Structural Funds the implementation of the ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme is based on the following Programme Rules:

Objective of the Single Operation

The overall objective of the Single Operation is to implement Priority Axis 1 of the ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme, as approved by the European Commission, and to promote the use of territorial evidence and a territorial dimension in policymaking at all scales in support of:

  • the Lisbon Treaty’s objective of harmonious and balanced development of the European territory;
  • the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;
  • the Cohesion Policy’s aim of economic, social and territorial cohesion; and
  • the Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020’s place-based policy orientations towards specific types of territories, regions and cities.

Operation Proposal

The ESPON Managing Authority invited the ESPON EGTC to submit an Operation Proposal on 29 June 2015. The ESPON Monitoring Committee approved the Operation Proposal submitted by the ESPON EGTC on 20 November 2015.

The approved Operation Proposal comprises two main elements:

  • a Multi-Annual Work Programme which includes planned actions and activities covering content-related specific objectives over the period 2015-2022;
  • an Annual Work Plan 2015/2016, every year a new Annual Work Plan will be prepared and adopted by the ESPON Monitoring Committee to implement specific stages of the Multi-Annual Work Programme;

The content related to the 5 specific objectives is described below:

Specific Objective 1: Enhanced European territorial evidence production through applied research and analyses

At least 22 Applied Research projects will be carried through addressing themes defined by policy demand. These activities are original to ESPON and necessary for essential territorial knowledge evolution and evidence production covering Europe, its regions and cities.

Specific Objective 2: Upgraded knowledge transfer and use of analytical support

At least 25 Targeted Analysis projects supporting the use of territorial evidence in concrete practice will be carried through in direct partnership with groups of stakeholders and providing tailored evidence support to other European funding programmes. In addition the ESPON EGTC will produce at least 45 thematic papers in form of policy briefs and working papers on specific themes in the ongoing policy debate. Targeted Analysis with stakeholders from national, regional and local levels as well as European programmes is a continuation of successful activities within the ESPON 2013 programme.

Specific Objective 3: Improved territorial observation and tools for territorial analyses

The ESPON EGTC will carry out the development of at least 8 online tools for territorial analyses and mapping which will provide user-friendly support and highly-accessible territorial data for policymakers and practitioners. In addition, the ESPON EGTC will continue monitoring European territorial dynamics, also at macro-regional scale, and publish 3 major territorial monitoring reports at key moments over the programme period in order to inform and support important policy development processes.

Specific Objective 4: Wider outreach and uptake of territorial evidence

Outreach and capitalisation are major focus for the Single Operation in order to ensure European territorial evidence can be more widely used in concrete practice. The ESPON EGTC has developed a comprehensive Outreach Strategy with activities foreseen at both European and transnational/national levels which will see at least 60 capitalisation activities being carried through (including at least forty (40) events and twenty (20) publications related to European, transnational and national levels) in order to ensure a high visibility of territorial evidence and concerns in policy development processes at all levels.

Specific Objective 5: Leaner, more effective and efficient implementation provisions and more proficient programme assistance: The establishment of the Single Beneficiary, the ESPON EGTC - European Node for Territorial Evidence, will ensure a much improved, streamlined and strengthened institutional setup with increased in-house specialist staff and scientific capacity.

Start of the operation


Closure of the operation



The ESPON EGTC has received a grant of € 48 million to carry through the Single Operation .

Overall budget

Source of Funding

Total (EUR)



Member State contribution


Partner State contribution




The ESPON EGTC will procure external expertise services to implement many of the planned activities. These will be contracted on the basis of open competitive tendering processes. Academic institutions, research agencies, experts, the private sector and other eligible organisations and individuals throughout Europe will be entitled to tender for these services. The following estimated budgets shall be available for external expertise related to the 5 Specific Objectives:

Detailed budget for External expertise

Specific Objectives

Total (EUR)

SO1: Applied research and analyses


SO2: Targeted analyses


SO3: Tools for territorial analyses and mapping


SO4: Outreach


SO5: Financial/accountancy & IT related





As part of a renewal and upgrade of ESPON for the period 2014-2020 and beyond, a European Grouping on Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) has been established on 9 January 2015 according to European law to act as Single Beneficiary and deliver the content envisaged by the ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme.

For further information on the ESPON EGTC and about the progress on the implementation of the Single Operation please visit the ESPON website.

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