29 / 01 / 2021

EARTO Report on State Aid on R&D&I: The Right Way

State Aid Law is a field of EU regulation that requires specific knowledge and expertise (which is often lacking). At universities, research organizations and companies alike, there usually is a basic understanding of this field although there are some “knowledge gaps”. This is often the case in the field of research, development and innovation due to certain misinterpretations of the legal framework. This includes some overinterpretations of the limitations contained in that framework. The issues at stake are sometimes not so simple to understand and apply, but the framework is necessary to avoid market distortions and potential indirect aid situations in a way that is contrary to the common interest in the European Internal Market. It is also important to incentivize support for RD&I. Therefore, State Aid Law offers sufficient flexibility for aid that is both necessary and proportionate so that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create growths and jobs where financing from the market alone is not forthcoming.   This new EARTO report aims to explain the EU State Aid rules from its fundamentals and its special requirements when applied to the field of RD&I. It focuses on the Research and Knowledge Dissemination Organisations as well as their cooperation with industry. The report has been commissioned by the European Commission (EC) and carried out by three independent experts: Lorenz Kaiser, former Director of IP and Legal Affairs, Fraunhofer, Chairman of the experts’ group, Folkert Teernstra (TNO) and Michel Neu (CEA), all three acting on their own behalf. After the work of the 3 independent experts, the EC had decided to simplify this Study to only retain the Guidance/decision tree part of the Study which was published in late 2020. The 3 independent experts however considered useful to propose a publication of the full version of the Study to EARTO, as it offers an interesting complement to the Decision Tree published by the JRC. As this Study is in good continuity with its previous work on RD&I State Aid (cf. EARTO Note on RD&I State Aid published in 2018), EARTO endorsed this Study as a new EARTO paper on RD&I State Aid.   Read the full EARTO report