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National Smart Specialization Strategy - Industrial research and experimental development projects

What you need to know

Decree of the Minister of Business and Made in Italy provides new benefits for Research and Development activities in the South.


  1. companies that carry out a direct industrial activity in the production of goods or services and a transport activity by land, water or air, including artisan companies producing goods;
  2. agro-industrial companies that mainly carry out industrial activities;
  3. the companies that carry out activities auxiliary to those referred to in point A);
  4. the research centres;
  5. agricultural businesses that operate as co-proponents of a joint project.

Companies can present projects, even jointly with each other, which include:

  • a maximum number of 5 companies including the leader and the co-proposers, without prejudice to a project amount to be paid by each company of a value of no less than 3,000,000.00 euros;
  • the use of the network contract instrument or other contractual forms of collaboration, such as, by way of example, the consortium and the partnership agreement. The network contract or other contractual forms of collaboration must configure a concrete collaboration that is stable and coherent with respect to the articulation of the activities, expressly aimed at the realization of the proposed project.

Eligible interventions

The projects eligible for the subsidies must involve the implementation of industrial research and experimental development activities, aimed at the creation of new products, processes or services or at the significant improvement of existing products, processes or services, through the development of fundamental enabling technologies , within the thematic areas and development trajectories defined by the National Smart Specialization Strategy or within other thematic areas and development trajectories not included in the aforementioned Strategy, in order to contribute to fueling the process of entrepreneurial discovery and the consequent evolutionary adaptation of the same. The projects must be aimed at introducing significant technological advances, not limiting themselves to the research phase alone, and include activities closely connected to each other in relation to the objective envisaged by the project.

Projects must:

  • be carried out by the beneficiary subjects within one or more of their local units located in the national territory, in coherence with the territory of competence of the subsidy intervention on the basis of the localization constraints envisaged by the financing sources used;
  • provide for eligible expenses and costs of no less than 3,000,000.00 euros and no more than 20,000,000.00 euros;
  • be started after the submission of the application for benefits;
  • have a duration of no less than 12 months and no more than 36 months;
  • comply with the DNSH principle.

Eligible expenses

a) the staff of the proposing company, limited to technicians, researchers and other auxiliary personnel, to the extent that they are employed in the research and development activities covered by the project. Staff costs with administrative, accounting and commercial duties are excluded;

b) the tools and equipment, to the extent and for the period in which they are used for the research and development project. In the event that the period of use for the project of the tools and equipment is less than the entire useful life of the asset, only the ordinary tax depreciation quotas relating to the period in which the project is carried out are eligible;

c) consultancy services, contractual research and other services used for the research and development project activity, including the acquisition or licensing of research results, patents and know-how, through a transaction carried out under normal market conditions;

d) general expenses relating to the project;
e) the materials used to carry out the project.


a) a subsidized loan from the resources of the FRI, for a nominal percentage of eligible expenses and costs equal to 50% . The subsidized loan must be associated with a bank loan . The subsidized loan and the bank loan together constitute the loan. In the cases foreseen, the subsidized loan can be granted for a nominal percentage of the eligible expenses and costs equal to 40%. The loan is granted at an interest rate equal to 20% of the European reference rate. The duration of the loan can have a minimum value of 4 years and a maximum of 15 years, including a pre-amortization period commensurate with the duration of the project in full years and, in any case, not exceeding 4 years starting from the date of signing the financing contract .

b) a contribution to expenditure (repayable fund), for a nominal percentage of eligible expenses and costs broken down as follows:
30% for small businesses;
25% for medium-sized businesses;

15% for large companies, not falling within the definition of SMEs;

10% as an increase, payable, alternatively, in the case of a project:

  1. made entirely in less developed regions;
  2. carried out as part of a joint project;
  3. carried out jointly between several proposing companies that are independent of each other and that establish a collaboration aimed at the exchange of knowledge or technologies, or at the achievement of a common objective based on the division of labor, in which the subjects define by mutual agreement the scope of the project collaboration, contribute to its implementation and share its risks and results, and in which each company does not bear, alone, more than 70% of the total eligible costs and in which there is at least one SME among the proposing companies;
  4. which involves wide dissemination of results through conferences, publications, open access databases or open source or free software;
  5. which includes the beneficiary company's commitment to make available to interested parties in the European Economic Area, on a constant basis, the results of the funded research and development activity which are protected by intellectual property rights, through licenses for the use of the themselves, at market price and non-exclusive and non-discriminatory conditions.


Waiting for the publication of the implementing decree. Negotiation procedure.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash


Who is it aimed at?

Small businesses, Medium businesses, Micro businesses, Large businesses, SMEs


Concessionary rate financing



Geographic area

Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria, Valle d'Aosta, Veneto



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