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State Aid

State Aid: Aid to five Norwegian innovation clusters approved



Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority decided not to raise objections to aid being granted to five Norwegian innovation clusters under the Norwegian Centers of Expertise (NCE) programme.

The beneficiary clusters are NCE Micro and Nanotechnology, NCE Instrumentation, NCE Raufoss, NCE Subsea and NCE Aquaculture. These clusters regroup undertakings from different economic sectors as well as educational and research institutions.

The objective of the aid is to stimulate innovation by supporting the operation of the innovation clusters. This could help to overcome coordination problems hampering the establishment of cluster or limiting the interactions and knowledge flows.

Norway will provide grants of up to 50% of eligible costs for the operation of the clusters. The total budget of the measure for each cluster is NOK 50 million (approx. EUR 6.25 million), and the maximum total period of aid is ten years, from 2006 to 2016.

The referred clusters are currently receiving aid through the NCE innovation cluster aid scheme authorised by a decision of the Authority in 2011. The Authority was now required to conduct a more detailed assessment of the aid under its State Aid Guidelines on Aid for Research and Development and Innovation as the total aid amount for each of these clusters exceeded the EUR 5 million threshold triggering in-depth assessment according to the Guidelines.

After analysing the positive and negative effects of the notified aid measures, the Authority concluded that they are in line with the state aid provisions of the EEA agreement. From July 2016, the five beneficiary clusters would not be eligible for further aid under this or a subsequent aid scheme.

A public version of today's decisions will be published on the Authority's website, normally within a month.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187


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