EU approves more than €8bn for research and innovation projects

8 Jun 2023

Margrethe Vestager. Image: Mauro Bottaro/European Union

Ireland is one of 14 European Union member states to have contributed to the funding that is expected to create 8,700 jobs across the continent.

The European Commission has approved €8.1bn in state aid to boost research and innovation in the areas of microelectronics and communication technologies.

Known as an Important Project of Common European Interest or IPCEI, it was jointly prepared and notified by 14 EU member states, including Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Together, the 14 member states will provide the amount in public funding, which is also expected to bring in an additional €13.7bn in private investments.

The investment will enable 56 companies – including SMEs and start-ups – undertake a total of 68 projects. Some of the big names that will be involved in the projects include Dutch giants Airbus and ASML as well as Sweden’s Ericsson.

Other than innovating in microelectronics and communication, the fund will also be used to develop energy-efficient and resource-saving electronics systems and manufacturing methods.

The commission hopes this will contribute to technological advancement across a wide range of sectors, including 5G, autonomous driving, AI, quantum computing and even green energy.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said that microelectronics and communication technologies are the “backbone of any modern electronic device” from mobile phones to medical devices and that the latest project is the “largest approved so far”.

“Innovation is essential to help Europe economy become greener and more resilient. But innovation can come with risks that the market alone is not ready to take. This is why state aid should be made available to fill such a gap,” Vestager said at a launch today (8 June).

“This latest IPCEI approved today is yet another demonstration of the EU Chips Act already triggering considerable public and private investment across the European semiconductor value chain,” added Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market.

“By investing in our innovative companies, we are investing in Europe’s technological and industrial leadership in semiconductors as well as our security of supply and economic security.”

The commission said first novel products emerging out of this funding may be introduced to the market as early as 2025, while the completion of the overall project is planned for 2032. Around 8,700 jobs are expected to be created in Europe as a result of this.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic