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Projects and activities | 11 Oct 2021

Guidance in the form of a Decision Tree: State Aid Rules in Research, Development & Innovation

Brief me

Key objective: The Guidance in the form of a Decision Tree addresses common knowledge and awareness gaps among practitioners in some European Research and Knowledge Dissemination organisations (RDOs, research organisations) in understanding and correctly applying EU State Aid rules in their collaborations and engagements with industry partners and in managing research infrastructures. The aim of the Decision Tree is to help research organisations better understand and comply with State Aid rules within the European Union. 

Project summary: The present work is the result of over one year of discussions among experts and European Commission (EC) staff from the different relevant services in order to provide guidelines in the form of a decision tree for research organisations when dealing with the current EC rules and regulations on State Aid in Research and Innovation. The document is intended to provide technical clarification and should not be interpreted as a piece of legislation.

The global economy is becoming more and more innovation-driven. Therefore, Research and Knowledge Dissemination Organisations (RDOs, research organisations) need to take an ever more active role in translating knowledge into innovation, to fuel economic growth, jobs and competitiveness. This not only necessitates that RDOs collaborate more closely with a broad range of partners, including industry, but also that they embrace new innovative models through science parks, shared research infrastructures, innovation clusters or similar catalysts. Such activities often involve intensive interaction between publicly funded RDOs and industry – e.g. in the form of R&D-collaboration, the outsourcing of R&D-services to RDOs, knowledge transfer or the sharing of RDO-infrastructure. While these activities are desirable from an innovation and industrial-policy point of view, they may involve an element of public support. Such public support could constitute ‘State aid’ to one or more of the parties involved – the RDO and/or the undertakings, depending on the circumstances.

To help research organisations navigate the assessment of the presence of State aid in their R&D-interactions, this publication contains a Decision Tree that walks the reader through the different stages of the assessment.

Stakeholder groups: research organisations, universities, research and innovation centres, science and technology parks, research infrastructure operators/managers, technology transfer and industry liaison practitioners; it could also be useful to national administrations and the private sector when collaborating with academia

Project partner: Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

ContactStoyan Kaymaktchiyski

Geographic coverage: European Union / European Economic Area (EEA)

Latest knowledge from this Project