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Belgium : Commission approves 400 million aid to STMicroelectronics for the Nano2017 research programme

June 26, 2014

The European Commission has decided that aid by France to STMicroelectronics (ST) for the development of new technologies in the nanoelectronics sector is in line with EU rules on state aid. It believes the project will help to achieve EU targets in the field of science and the environment without unduly distorting competition.

Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, JoaquÍn Almunia, said: "The aim of the Nano2017 programme is to make major advances in the field of nanoelectronics. It offers a new European dimension that will boost synergies between the three major European clusters and establish a structure for the sector. Once more, our decision shows that the monitoring of state aid does not in any way impede modern and forward-looking industrial policies, but is a way of investing effectively in the key sector of research, innovation and development."

At the end of 2013, France notified the Commission of its plans to give aid to ST for implementing the Nano2017 programme. The aim of the programme is to develop new technologies for the design and production of the next generation of integrated circuits and to strengthen the structure of the European micro- and nanoelectronics industry by positioning the Crolles-Grenoble cluster as a global leader in the field of advanced CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) technology.

The programme is being implemented by a consortium of 174 partners from 19 countries across Europe (62 of which belong to the 3 major European clusters) led by ST. It will be partly financed by the ENIAC Joint Undertaking (in particular, new pilot-line projects for key enabling technologies) and thus forms an integral part of the objectives of Horizon 2020, the new EU programme for research and innovation.

The Commission examined the aid in the light of its framework for state aid for research and development and innovation and concluded that the aid would remedy market failures. It will improve coordination both among companies in the sector, and between companies and research bodies, making it possible for the results of the project to be disseminated widely through scientific publications and training programmes. It will also enable European suppliers of the semiconductor industry (parts manufacturers, support services, substrate suppliers) to continue developing a state-of-the-art R&D and production infrastructure in Europe, allowing them to design innovative solutions that are tailored to the most advanced technologies. The research will focus on devising ways to reduce the power consumption of components. The Commission concluded that the aid would have a positive effect on the value chain and would allow major energy savings to be made in the future.

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Source: TendersInfo (India)

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