20 June 2023

The European Commission has approved a new Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to support research, innovation and the first industrial deployment of microelectronics and communication technologies (ME/CT) across the value chain. 

This adds to the other 5 IPCEIs that had been previously assessed by the Commission: two on Batteries, two on Hydrogen (IPCEI Hy2Tech and IPCEI Hy2Use), and the first IPCEI on Microelectronics, approved in 2018 with a €1.75 billion budget. 

The new IPCEI ME/CT has been jointly prepared and notified by 14 Member States: Austria, Czechia, Finland, FranceGermany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain; which will provide up to €8.1 billion in public funding and unlock an expected additional €13.7 billion in private investments

As a result, a total of 68 projects will be undertaken by 56 companies, including SMEs and start-ups. The projects will be completed around 2032, with the first novel products expected to be introduced to the market as early as 2025. 

Innovation in microelectronics to foster digital and green transformations 

The IPCEI ME/CT concerns research and development projects covering microelectronics and communication technologies across the whole value chain, including: 

  • Novel sensors to collect data 
  • Chips to process and store data 
  • Microelectronic systems performing actions 
  • Systems for fast, secure and reliable transmission of information 

Thus, the projects will enable digital and green transformations by: 

  • Creating innovative solutions in microelectronics and communications. 
  • Developing energy-efficient and resource-saving electronics systems and manufacturing methods. 
  • Contribute to the technological advancement of many sectors, including communications (5G and 6G), autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. 
  • Support companies active in energy generation, distribution and use in their green transition. 

Organisations benefitting from the IPCEI ME/CT projects 

68 projects and over 85 participant organisations 

The IPCEI involves 68 projects from 56 companies of all sizes, including SMEs and start-ups, from the following 14 Member States: Austria, Czechia, Finland, FranceGermany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. These direct participants will closely cooperate through more than 180 envisaged cross-border collaborations

Over 30 associated participants are also involved in the projects, including universities, research organisations and companies located in the following 5 additional Member StatesBelgium, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and Slovenia; together with Norway. 

  • Public support to projects handled by research organisations will not require the Commission’s approval, as it does not qualify as aid. 
  • The companies, which seek limited aid amounts, can obtain public support under General Block Exemption Regulation, as their innovative projects are not considered part of the IPCEI as such. 

Around 600 indirect partners 

Moreover, there is an estimated amount of 600 indirect partners, representing companies or organisations that hold collaboration agreements with direct participants and can therefore benefit from the various dissemination activities. 

IPCEI, an instrument for granting State aid to key transnational projects 

Under EU State aid rules, the Commission approves different IPCEIs to allow Member States to financially support large-scale transnational projects of strategic significance for the Union and its common objectives. In so, these projects must overcome market failures and enable breakthrough innovation in key sectors and technologies and infrastructure investments, with positive spill-over effects for the EU economy at large. 

Specifically, the new IPCEI on microelectronics: 

  • Directly contributes to achieving the EU objectives of a greener, digital, more secure, resilient and sovereign economy, set out in policy initiatives such as Europe’s Digital Decade and the European Green Deal
  • Boosts technological innovation in areas such as sensors, high-performance processors, microprocessors including artificial intelligence, actuators and communication means for secure data exchange. 
  • Will generate spill-over effects for the whole European scientific community and industry, as the project results will be widely disseminated through conferences, publications, access to pilot and production facilities or licensing of intellectual property rights. 
  • Will incentivise companies to invest in the projects despite the technological and financial risks involved, while also ensuring proportionate public spending and fair competition

Several Member States have included their participation in the IPCEI ME/CT in their Recovery and Resilience Plans, which grants them the possibility to partly fund their projects through the Recovery and Resilience Facility

FI Group has 20 years of experience and wants to accompany you on the new NextGenerationEU path. Our experts are at your disposal to analyse how your project fits into the NextGenerationEU European recovery fund and to take the next steps together with you. Contact us. 

Marina Marcos 

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