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State Aid

PR(08)16: The Authority approves state aid to support unpaid labour in research and development activities


Today the Authority decided to approve a scheme proposed by the Norwegian authorities to provide grants to support unpaid labour in research and development activities (the “Unpaid R&D Labour Scheme”).

The Unpaid R&D Labour Scheme was introduced because the Norwegian authorities considered that the existing “Skattefunn Scheme”[1], under which research and development activities are supported by means of a tax deduction, could not apply to so called “unpaid labour” (i.e. where the worker, often a one man enterprise, does not receice a salary).

With reference to the principles established in the Community’s Seventh Research Framework Programme the Authority has concluded that the costs under the Scheme qualify as eligible costs within the meaning of the State Aid Guidelines on Research, Development and Innovation. The proposed aid intensities are also within the maxium limits allowed under those Guidelines. Furthermore, during the formal investigation procedure the Norwegian authorities decided to limit the Scheme to small and micro enterprises and to limit the duration of the Scheme up to 31 December 2013, on which the current Guidelines expire,.

On this basis the Authority has taken the view that the Unpaid R&D Labour Scheme fulfils the relevant conditions set forth in the State Aid Guidelines.   

The decision will be published in the EEA Section of the Official Journal of the European Union and the EEA Supplement thereto. Moreover, for information purposes the decision will also be published on the Authority’s website

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Amund Utne Director,
Competition and State aid Directorate,
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 30, or

Mrs Lena Sandberg-Mørch,
Competition and State aid Directorate,
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 30


For general information about the EEA state aid rules, please consult the Authority’s website.

17 March 2008

[1]The “Skattefunn” scheme was approved by the Authority in its Decision No. 171/02/COL of 25 September 2002 and Decision No. 16/03/COL of 5 February 2003.

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