Revised EU State Aid Framework for Research, Development and Innovation

Updated rules for EU Member States granting state aid for RDI activities, while ensuring a level playing field.

The European Commission has adopted a revised Communication on State Aid Rules for Research, Development and Innovation, which sets out the rules under which Member States can grant State Aid for RDI activities, while ensuring a level playing field.

The revised RDI Framework includes the following amendments:

  • Update the existing definitions of research and innovation activities eligible for support under the RDI Framework. In particular, the amendments clarify their applicability with respect to digital technologies and activities related to digitalisation (eg super-computing, quantum technologies, block chain, artificial intelligence, cyber security, big data and cloud or edge computing). This aims at providing legal certainty to Member States and stakeholders, while facilitating RDI investments that will enable the digital transformation in the EU.
  • Enable public support for testing and experimentation infrastructures required to develop, test and upscale technologies. This aims at further enabling the swift development and eventual deployment of cutting edge and breakthrough technologies, in particular by small and medium-sized enterprises, while facilitating the green and digital transition of the EU economy, and contributing to the new European Innovation Agenda.
  • Simplify certain rules in order to facilitate the practical application of the RDI Framework and to alleviate possible excessive administrative burden for companies and public authorities. For example, the new rules introduce a simplified mechanism to determine the indirect costs of research and development projects that are eligible for support under State aid rules.

The 2022 RDI Framework also maintains safeguards to ensure that aid is limited to what is necessary and does not lead to undue distortions of competition.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The revised State aid framework adopted [today] will make it easier for Member States to support research, development and innovation, including by small and medium-sized companies, while ensuring that possible competition distortions are kept to the minimum. The targeted changes introduced to our rules will support Europe’s green and digital transitions by facilitating public-private investment in breakthrough innovation and research, as well as testing and experimentation infrastructures.”