[…] It is my understanding that […] what […] is doing here is not so much tied to my specific case […] but rather sounding out a more general case for any potential […] sponsor that may not be offered a financially cost-“free” pass to the […] otherwise.
With this in mind, my own due diligence now involves distinguishing between the same, and as a result, here are my questions arising:
1. As per […] monthly e-newsletter received yesterday, my attention is drawn to their recent guidance notes on “dealing with State Aid issues in the context of Business and Community Engagement (BCE) activities” […]
2. In light of these guidance notes, which have appear to have been openly available since 04/12/2009, am wondering if both you and […] have had a chance to check the design of the […] conference against these rules, as compared to the design of the […], and importantly, any financial interaction between the two?
3. My concern is to draw a careful distinction between commercial activities and non-commercial activities – namely, if an academic institution is engaging in commercial activities – or activities with a view to commercialising outcomes – it could be categorised as an enterprise, and in particular, no different to other entities who may or may not be considered enterprises on the other side of the “transfer” equation, so to speak. In practical terms, there should then be no difference in the registration fee between those who categorise themselves as “academics” and those who do not, irrespective of whether or not they comply with using their academic email address by way of verification. As such, the tiered pricing structure of the […], including any possible derivative sponsorship agreements, may be in contravention of State Aid rules unless an exception has been granted in advance.
4. If, after the event (and indeed, in light of the Emergency Budget of the new coalition […] Government to be announced on 22 Jun, just prior to the […]) the treatment of such circumstances by the new […] is significantly different from any sign off that may have been received from the old DBIS (Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills), this could leave the underwriters of the […] (and possibly […] also if financially entangled with the same) liable for paying back a portion (if not all) of the monies received with interest running from the date of the grant.
5. Hopefully we know each other well enough to have no doubt that we are all trying to do a good thing here, and the purpose of my due diligence is in no way to question the motivations of anyone in particular. Rather, it is to recognise that the broader operating environment has been subject to interpretation of sorts, and though the former […] Governement may have been happy to advocate one set of political ideologies, our emerging coalition is unlikely to have much overlap with the same – so what may have been actively encouraged as “third stream” activities prior to the change of […] Government may well be subject to review – and indeed has been so for some time.
Will refrain from cc-ing this present email to […] at this stage in the hope that you will run it by […] face-to-face at the earliest opportunity, and certainly once you’ve had a chance to review the emerging situation yourself.
At all events, hope this helps, and looking forward to next steps […]
[…] was relieved to find that the EU State Aid rules concurred with […] emails prior to happening upon […]’s guidance notes that led to […] setting up a category of “anonymous” sponsorship for the […] page.
Either way, suggest that working through a case study in response to […]’s call for examples may be a useful way forward for all concerned, particularly in light of HM Treasury’s Spending Challenge […]
But first, please bring […] up to speed with this – if […]’s asking for […] to summarise […] thoughts into a few simple sentences, it gives the impression that […] has yet to read the few simple sentences already sent?
Again, will refrain from copying […] in on this current email in order to give […] a chance to go through this with […] face-to-face in the first instance, if […] haven’t already done so […]