Funding granted by the Research Council of Finland or the Strategic Research Council (SRC) cannot be used for economic activity. Economic activity is defined as all activity where goods or services are offered on an open market regardless of whether profits are pursued or generated. Above all, it is a question of the activity, not the organisation’s legal form.
Economic operators may include companies, but also in some cases organisations, etc., if they engage in economic activities. Regardless of the legal form, the funding recipients must be financially viable, commit to the funding terms and conditions and take into account the prerequisites for good governance in all financial management.
However, it is possible for economic operators to participate in SRC-funded consortia, for example in the following ways:
- An economic operator may be eligible for funding under the Research Council of Finland’s funding terms and conditions, if the activity to be funded is not an economic activity and if the operator’s economic activity has been separated from the activity to be funded. In other words, in its accounting, the operator must separate its economic activities and its research and interaction activities in such a way that the funding is not used for economic activities.
- If alternative 1 is not feasible, the economic operator may receive funding within the limits set by the European Commission’s de minimis rule (see Commission Regulation on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid and De minimis aid. In this case, the maximum amount of funding received by the operator may be 200,000 euros, that is, the maximum amount of de minimis aid granted during three tax years. This maximum of 200,000 euros includes all state aid, even if it comes from different sources and for different purposes (see the cumulation rule for state aid).
- The third alternative is that the operator’s labour input is procured as an outsourced service within the framework of procurement legislation. In this case, it is worth reading the tendering rules of your own organisation well in advance when you are planning an application.
- The fourth alternative is that the operator participates as a collaborator for which funding is not applied for.