Rules adopted on 21 May 2014 by the EC will make it easier for EU member state governments to provide state funding (aid) for research, development and innovation (R&D&I) in their countries.
The sums involved are significant. In total, R&D&I state aid awarded under the old rules (from 2007) amounted to over €62.4 billion. Companies involved in or considering R&D&I investments of any nature in the EU should make themselves aware of the new state aid rules (and Horizon 2020, which governs funding by the EU itself).
The main changes to the EU state aid rules are: There is an expanded list of types of aid that are automatically allowed; there will be much higher notification thresholds (below which specific approval from the EC is not needed); there will be higher permissible aid levels, or "aid intensities" (for example, member states will be allowed to grant aid for applied research for up to 90 percent of the eligible costs of a project); and the operation of the regime has generally been simplified.