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From 2014 to 2020, the EU Structural and Investment Funds will bring together different strands of EU funding to support a programme focussed on local economic growth. This focuses on innovation, research and development, support for SMEs, low carbon, skills, employment and social inclusion.

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will oversee much of this new funding by working with a range of local partners. The joint letter highlights this as an opportunity for UK higher education institutions to work in partnership with the LEPs, to develop and co-invest in projects that meet research and innovation and local growth objectives.

The letter also invites institutions to respond with any suggestions about how to make the most of this opportunity. In particular it invites views on possible adjustments to existing ways of working or any perceived barriers that prevent the UK from getting the full benefit of the funds.