EC Approves €1.2 Billion State Aid for Cloud and Edge Computing

EC Approves €1.2 Billion State Aid for Cloud and Edge Computing

The European Commission has approved an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI). It will support the research, development, and industrial deployment of advanced cloud and edge computing technologies across multiple providers in Europe.

The project, called IPCEI Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services (IPCEI CIS), was jointly notified by seven Member States: France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. The Member States will provide up to €1.2 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock an additional €1.4 billion in private investments. As part of this IPCEI, 19 companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, will undertake 19 highly innovative projects.

IPCEI CIS is the first IPCEI in the cloud and edge computing domain. It concerns the development of the first interoperable and openly accessible European data processing ecosystem, the multi-provider cloud-to-edge continuum. It will develop data processing capabilities, and software and data sharing tools that enable federated, energy-efficient, and trustworthy cloud and edge distributed data processing technologies and related services. The innovation provided by IPCEI CIS will enable a new spectrum of possibilities for European businesses and citizens, advancing the Digital and Green transition in Europe.

The participating companies will develop open-source software that will allow for real-time and low-latency services by distributing computing resources close to the user, thereby reducing the need to transmit large volumes of data to centralized cloud servers. The individual projects cover the entire cloud edge continuum, from the basic software layer to sector-specific applications. These projects aim at enabling the digital and green transition by providing software that will develop the necessary infrastructure-related capabilities to build the base layers of the edge cloud stack, developing a common reference architecture to serve as a blueprint for how to set up and operate a cloud and edge system, developing a set of advanced cloud and edge services that can be deployed seamlessly across networks of providers, developing sector-specific cases.

The research, development, and first industrial deployment phases will run between 2023 and 2031, with timelines varying depending on the project and the companies involved. The first novel result of the IPCEI – an open-source reference infrastructure – may be expected around the end of 2027. At least 1,000 direct and indirect highly qualified jobs are expected to be created during these phases, and many more in the commercialization phase.

The IPCEI involves 19 projects from 19 companies. The 19 projects are part of the wider IPCEI CIS ecosystem, involving more than 90 indirect partners, including large, medium, and small enterprises, start-ups, and research organizations located in five additional EU Member States (Belgium, Croatia, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Slovenia). Public support to projects handled by research organizations does not require the Commission's approval, as it does not qualify as aid when certain conditions are met. The indirect partners, which seek limited aid amounts, can obtain public support under the General Block Exemption Regulation, which does not need to be notified to the Commission for approval. Their projects are not considered part of the IPCEI as such.