We study the expected welfare effects of targeted R&D subsidies using project-level data from Finland. We model the application and R&D investment decisions of firms and the subsidy-granting decision of the public agency in charge of the program. Our model and institutional environment allow us to identify different benefits and costs of the R&D subsidy program. We find that expected effects of subsidies are very heterogeneous and estimated application costs low on average. The social rate of return on targeted subsidies is 30% to 50%, but spillover effects of subsidies are smaller than effects on firm profits.