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Within the EU Innovation Investment Package there is a EUR 22 billion investment in research performed by and through industry. There are five public-private partnerships, Joint Technology Initiatives, and four public-public partnerships, Joint Programme Initiatives, started by the European Commission together with other European countries. One of the four Joint Programme Initiatives (JPIs) is Eurostars, which is in its second phase under Horizon 2020.
More than 70% of Eurostars project applicants are R&D SMEs, which are specifically targeted by the programme. Some of these companies are expected to grow rapidly to become the large firms of tomorrow, while others play an important role by driving innovation in value chains and/or in existing large firms. Their small size and flexible organisation are a significant advantage in the changing economic landscape, enabling them to adapt quickly, and seize new market opportunities.
The bottom-up approach of Eurostars enables participants to launch their projects in any technological and market sector as long as it has a civilian purpose and is aimed at the production of a new product, process or service. Potential participants can already register online on the Eurostars website: http://www.eurostars-eureka.eu/pre-register/index
The added value of Eurostars under Horizon 2020 does not only lie in the special type of SMEs supported, but also in the way it is implemented: Eurostars is a joint programme between several European countries, within and outside the EU in the context of EUREKA, and the Union through Horizon 2020.
The EU’s role and contributions are key for the enhanced synchronization of national research and innovation programmes for a more effective use of available financing resources. Through the collective pooling of public funds for research and innovation across different national programmes, Eurostars offers a unique opportunity to access funding in a more efficient way.
The work of the first phase of Eurostars has revealed a clear leverage effect to investments at national level. Eurostars under the Framework Programme Seven (2008-2013) points to a substantial leverage effect, with 100 million euro in EU funds leveraging 400 million euro national funds (100 million euro more than initially foreseen by the member states), and raising private co-financing to 500 million euro. Eurostars in Horizon 2020 will maintain a similar leverage ratio, but with a higher investment as a starting point: the new Eurostars budget will contain a contribution from the Commission that is triple what it had originally given. The contribution from the Commission is now set at 287 million euro which together with the Eurostars members amounts to a total of 1.14 billion euro.
The Commission's proposal for Eurostars is currently on the table of the Council and Parliament for the co-decision. The first call under the new programme will be 13 March 2014.
Read more in the “Eurostars 2: Support for research intensive SMEs to continue under Horizon 2020” editorial on the Commission’s website.