Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing Part of the European Commission’s €8.1 Billion Project to Improve Communication Technologies

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Insider Summary

  • The European Commission will provide public funding of up to €8.1 billion for microelectronics and communications technology.
  • The funding will contribute to the advancement of sectors, including quantum computing, communications (5G and 6G), autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.
  • Member States include Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

PRESS RELEASE — The Commission has approved, under EU Country aid rules, an Important Project in the European Common Interest (‘IPCEI’) to support the research, innovation and deployment of the first industrial microelectronics and communications technologies across the value chain.

Project, so called “IPCEI ME/CT”prepared and notified jointly by fourteen Member States: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

Member States will provide up to €8.1 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock an additional €13.7 billion in private investment. As part of this IPCEI, 56 companies, including small and medium enterprises (‘SMEs’) and start-ups, will implement 68 projects.

IPCEI ME/CT

ME/CT IPCEI concerns research and development projects covering microelectronics and communications technologies across the value chain from materials and tools to chip design and manufacturing processes.

These projects aim to enable digital and green transformation by: (i) creating innovative microelectronics and communications solutionsand (ii) developing electronic systems and manufacturing methods that are energy efficient and resource efficient. They will contribute to technological advances in many sectors, including communications (5G and 6G), autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. They will also support companies active in the generation, distribution and use of energy in their green transitions.

The first new product could be introduced to market as early as 2025 and completion of the entire project is planned for 2032, with timelines that vary in project function and companies involved. Some 8,700 direct jobs are expected to be created, and many more indirect jobs.

IPCEI ME/CT follows and complements the first IPCEI to support research and innovation in the field of microelectronics, which was approved by the Commission in December 2018.

Commission Assessment

The Commission assesses the proposed IPCEI under the EU Country aid rules, more specifically in 2021 Communications on Important Projects of European Common Interest (‘IPCEI Communication’). When private initiatives supporting breakthrough innovation fail to materialize due to the significant risks posed by the project, the IPCEI rules allow Member States to jointly fill the gap to address this important market failure. At the same time, IPCEI rules ensure that the EU economy benefits greatly from supported investments and limit potential distortions of competition.

The Commission found that the IPCEI ME/CT complied with the requirements set out in its Communication and were in line with State aid regulations.

In particular, the Commission concludes that:

  • ME/CT IPCEI directly contributed to achieving several EU destination a greener, digital, safer, resilient and sovereign economy enshrined in major EU policy initiatives, such as European Digital Decade And European Green Deal.
  • All 68 projects part of IPCEI are very ambitious, as they aim to be developing technologies that go beyond what the market currently offers and will enable major improvements, especially in the areas of sensors, high performance processors, microprocessors including artificial intelligence, actuators and communication tools for secure data exchange.
  • IPCEI also involves significant technological and financial risks. Because of that, Public support is needed to provide incentives for companies to invest.
  • Assistance to sole proprietorships is limited as is necessary, proportionate and do not unduly distort competition. In particular, the Commission has verified that the maximum total amount of assistance planned is in line with the costs of eligible projects and their funding gaps. Furthermore, if the major projects covered by IPCEI turn out to be very successful, generating extra net income, the company will return a portion of the assistance received to each Member State (claw-back mechanism).
  • Project results will be widely shared by participating companies that benefit from public support with the European scientific community and industry outside the companies and countries that are part of IPCEI, including through conferences, publications, access to demonstration and production facilities or licensing of proprietary rights. intellectual. As a result, a positive spillover effect will be generated throughout Europe.

IPCEI funding, participants and structure

IPCEI involves 68 projects from 56 companies. These direct participants will work closely together through more than 180 planned cross-border collaborations.

The 68 projects are part of a wider IPCEI ME/CT Ecosystem involved more than 30 relevant participants, including universities, research organizations and companies located in five additional EU Member States (Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and Slovenia) and Norway. Public support for projects handled by research organizations does not require Commission approval, as it does not qualify as aid. Companies, seeking limited assistance, can find public support below General Block Exception Regulations, which therefore did not need to be notified to the Commission for approval. Their innovative projects are not considered part of IPCEI.

In addition, there are around 600 indirect partners who are companies or organizations that enter into cooperation agreements with one or more direct ME/CT IPCEI participants so that they can benefit from various dissemination activities.

Several Member States (Austria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Spain) include their participation in the IPCEI ME/CT in their Recovery and Resilience Plans. These Member States have the possibility to partially fund their projects through the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Further information on the amount of assistance to each participant will be made available in the public version of the Commission’s decision, once confidentiality issues are resolved with Member States and third parties.

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