Emyr Lewis co-authors new guide to State Aid for universities

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Emyr Lewis, a partner in our specialist education sector practice at Blake Morgan, is one of the co-authors of a new Guide to State Aid for universities commissioned by AURIL and PraxisUnico with support from HEFCE.

State Aid is a fundamental aspect of European law, embedded in the EU Treaty. It exists to prevent government-funded institutions enjoying an unfair business advantage over their competitors. It covers all state and European funds, together with people and resources (e.g. labs) funded through them, even if the institution itself is largely privately funded.

It refers to public aid given to undertakings (usually, not exclusively, businesses) other than as market investment, which could potentially distort competition and create an uneven playing field between Member States of the European Union.

Not all aid to businesses is unlawful, but any State Aid which has an anti-competitive effect within the EU will be unlawful unless the Commission authorises that aid (either specifically or through an exemption) or decides not to raise any objection to it.

An understanding of the basic principles of State Aid is likely to facilitate improved decision-making by academic and senior managers who are active in innovation and commercialisation.

State Aid in Research, Development & Innovation: A Guide for Universities includes a step-by-step checklist that universities can follow to assess how they need to proceed when beginning projects that may be covered by the regulations. 

The guide can be downloaded here. 

It is co-authored by Emyr along with Christine Reid, of Northwood Reid and David Bembo of Cardiff University.


Emyr Lewis is a Partner and Regional Senior Partner in the Wales office. He covers public and constitutional law as well as heavyweight commercial transactions in the ICT and media sectors, public procurement and state aid.