It is still too early to indicate what impact Brexit will have on funding applications submitted by Northern Ireland-based organisations in the next couple of years, according to an updated report by an expert on EU funding.
The ‘Accessing EU Funds – 2017 to 2020 Report’ by Professor Hugh Quigley was originally written in 2014, was updated in 2015 and has now been further updated to take into account the potential changes following Brexit. Brexit will not affect funding applications from organisations in the Republic of Ireland.
Professor Quigley is visiting Professor at the University of Ulster and Chair of Access Europe.
The Report notes that the UK authorities have given indications that it may be possible for UK organisations to continue participation in EU funded programmes up to the end of the end of the current programming period i.e. until 2020. What will happen beyond that will depend in the result of the Brexit negotiations.
While the results of the June 2016 EU referendum have led to some uncertainty regarding the future availability of EU funding for Northern Irish organisations and on the sustainability of current and planned cooperation between the UK and other European organisations, the overall conclusion of the report is that EU programmes can still be a source of increased funding for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland in the period to 2020.
The main conclusion of the report, which looks at a small sample of organisations in the sector is that, apart from a limited group of mainly larger organisations, experience in the community and voluntary sector of applying for, receiving and managing EU funds is scarce.
If this is to change, the report says, some kind of support service is needed to encourage and support organisations to monitor opportunities and to apply for funds
However, considerable effort is required to achieve this. For many in the sector, especially smaller organisations, external support is needed to assist them though the administrative processes that are involved in monitoring opportunities as well as applying for and managing EU funds.
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