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PR(01)11: EFTA Surveillance Authority clears a new Norwegian aid scheme: Research and Development (R&D) projects in enterprises ("Forsknings- og utviklings (FOU) prosjekter i næringslivets regi (funn-ordningen")

5.11.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority  decided 18 July 2001 not to raise objections to a new aid scheme: Research and Development (R&D) projects in enterprises ("Forsknings- og utviklings (FoU) prosjekter i næringslivets regi (FUNN-ordningen)”).

FUNN is a new R&D grant scheme, which the Norwegian Government proposed to establish in its Fiscal Budget for 2001[1]. The overall objective of the scheme is to increase R&D and innovation in industry by stimulating co-operation between enterprises and R&D-institutions. FUNN supports projects where enterprises buy services from R&D institutions. The scheme is financed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The scope of the grants is limited to NOK 200 million (some EUR 24.1 million) in 2001. The Norwegian Parliament decides upon the budgetary appropriations each year, but the Norwegian authorities expect a budget of NOK 400 million (some EUR 48.2 million) in 2002 and thereafter.

FUNN will be administered by The Research Council of Norway (“Norges Forskningsråd”) on behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Grants from FUNN involve State aid in the meaning of Article 61(1) of the EEA Agreement. The aid intensity is 25% of the actual R&D expenditure for the project within the R&D-institution. For enterprises in assisted areas in the northern part of Norway (the counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark) the maximum aid intensity proposed is 30%. 

The aid intensity foreseen for grants from FUNN is within the maximum limits set by the State Aid Guidelines. The legal provisions for the scheme also comply with the Guidelines[2].  

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has therefore concluded that aid in the form of grants from FUNN qualify for exemption under Article 61(3)(c) of the EEA Agreement as aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities without adversely affecting trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest.

For further information please contact Amund Utne on tel. +32-2-286 18 50 or Rolf Egil Tønnessen on tel. +32-2-286 18 56.

 

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[1] "St.prp. nr. 1 (1998-99) for  Nærings- og handelsdepartementet, p.115".

[2] Procedural and Substantive Rules in the Field of State Aid (State Aid Guidelines), adopted and issued by the EFTA Surveillance Authority on 19 January 1994. Published in Official Journal L 231, 03.09.1994.




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