The Round 8 awards focus on economic regeneration, boosting employment opportunities and developing local cultural heritage.
'Crucial in achieving the Executive's aim of a thriving Scottish economy with sustainable economic growth, is the fostering of ideas, skills and innovation within local communities. Many projects that are receiving European funding will encourage this kind of innovative thinking.
'The new approvals include the Gain a Star project in South Ayrshire. This will receive more than £53,400 in Structural Funds support and will provide business counselling and grant assistance of up to £5,000 to individual tourism businesses aiming to meet Visit Scotland's flagship 'Gain a Star' quality assurance scheme. The project will provide upgraded accommodation in the region's coastal tourist destinations and give businesses the chance to capture visitors from the new and expanding markets being developed by VisitScotland.
'Other examples include £2.8m towards the creation of The University of Glasgow integrated multi-disciplinary Centre for Research in Biomedical Sciences.
'Sustainable development is a key aim of this Executive, and I'm pleased to announce that the East Renfrewshire Waste Technology Centre will benefit from £160,000 of Structural Fund Support. This project is part of the Scottish Executive-led strategic shift from reliance on land-fill to genuine waste management and is at the forefront of innovative approaches to sustainable development.
'Another key area is widening opportunities and trying to achieve the best possible mat ch between learning opportunities and the skills and knowledge which local economies need. Skills Training for Auchinlea Retail Development will benefit from £39,000 of Structural Fund Support. This will help equip local people with the skills they need for the 1,000 jobs which are expected to be created in a major retail development within the Greater Easterhouse social inclusion partnership
'The Clydebank Central Area advanced works project will also benefit from this round of European funding, receiving £750,000. This is the first phase in the redevelopment of the Clydebank Waterfront, one of the region's key strategic locations,' he said.
The Western Scotland Objective 2 Programme 2000-2006 was approved by the European Commission on 26 March 2001. It is worth over £290m over the period, comprising £60m European Social Fund and £230m European Regional Development Fund. European support will be available for the whole of the Western Scotland Programme area. The programme is designed to provide business support for small and medium-sized enterprises, to develop strategic sites and sectors, and to promote and support community economic development, targeted on Social Inclusion Partnerships.
This 8th round of awards to the programme takes the total amount of Structural Funds provided to date to approximately £209m.