Call for tenders for the funding of research and development projects of general interest for the electric sector

Prepared by Energy Team

The Ministry of Economic Development (Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico or “MISE”) has approved with its decree dated December 7, 2020 the “Call for tender for research projects pursuant to article 10, paragraph 2, letter b) of the Decree of January 2000, as set out in the 2019-2021 three-year plan for research of the national electric system” (the “Call for Tender”). The Call for Tender provides for, inter alia, a funding of 16 million euro to be assigned to research projects aimed at technical and technological innovation of general interest for the electric sector.

The Call for Tender is addressed to companies that carry out activities aimed at the production of goods and/or services and are already established at the date of submission of the project proposal, and to research organizations. In order to benefit from the abovementioned funding, the companies and research organizations shall submit projects proposals concerning the performance of industrial research activities (i.e. structured research and studies aimed at obtaining new knowledge and expertise for the development of new products, processes or services or for the improvement of existing products, processes or services) and/or experimental development (i.e. the acquisition, combination, structuring and use of existing scientific, technological, commercial and other knowledge and expertise for the purpose of developing new or improved products, processes or services, as better defined in the “Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (2014/C 198/01)”). In particular, the project proposals (the “Proposal”) has to focus on one of the following research areas, to which a quota of the overall budget is allocated:

  • high efficiency photovoltaics (€ 4 million);
  • storage systems, including electrochemical and power to gas, and related interfaces with networks (€ 4 million);
  • energy efficiency of products and industrial processes (€ 8 million).

The Proposal, that shall have a duration between 18 and 36 months, has to focus only on one of the abovementioned areas and the total cost of the activities shall be included between Euro one million and three million.

Furthermore, according to article 6 of the Call for Tender, the funding amount shall be equal to 50% of the eligible costs of the project in case of industrial research and to 25% of the eligible costs of the project in case of experimental development activities. Such percentages shall be increased (i) by 5% and 10% in the event that, respectively, medium and small size companies or micro-companies (microimpresa) (as defined by the Decree of the Ministry of Productive Activities of April 18, 2005) participate in the research and development projects, but only for the share of eligible costs incurred by individual SMEs and (ii) by 10% if the project entails an effective collaboration between companies and research organizations, provided that the research organization bears at least 10% of the eligible costs of the project and has the right to publish the results of the projects carried out. Lastly, research organisations are granted with a funding equal to 75% of the eligible costs, in accordance with the framework for state aid for research, development and innovation.

The companies interested in the Call for Tender shall submit the relevant application within March 3, 2021. In such regard, the modalities for accessing and using the electronic system for submitting the relevant applications will be published on the website no later than December 23, 2020.

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Tommaso Tomaiuolo

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti