On January 1, 2007 the EU Community Framework for State Aid for Research, Development, and Innovation came into effect. Consequently, all research facilities are governed by this framework as soon as they engage in non-profit and commercial activities.
Under EU provisions, a state subsidy for research services does not take place if the research facility provides its commercial activities at a price that is market-oriented. If a market price does not exist, a price that covers the entire costs and includes a suitable profit margin is to be estimated.
- Within the context of the community framework, the main university duties are to be regarded as non-commercial activities. These are the education of students, independent research and development (basic research), also carried out within consortiums, expansion of knowledge and understanding as well as the dissemination of research results.
- Services for university members under § 36 (1) of the German Higher Education Framework Act (HRG) are, in principle, to be regarded as non-commercial. Examples are chemical analyses for colleagues/members of staff from other subject areas/study groups or from other universities that are carried out exclusively for scientific purposes.
- The commercial activities of universities are therefore only determined by means of the negative definition of a non-commercial activity and relate to – as commonly referred to by the EU – the exercise of secondary tasks. Facility-letting, services for commercial enterprises and contract research are noted by the EU as explicit and exemplary economic activities.
The execution of a commercial activity may only be agreed upon and begun following authorization by the president on the basis of the submitted documents.