The Ex‐Post‐Evaluation of the 7th EU Framework Programme (2007‐2013) published in November 2015 highlights Eurostars as a programme that has succeeded in accelerating the growth and innovative outputs of R&D performing SMEs. While recognising that smaller enterprises will, by their nature, be more local and should largely be supported by national programmes for Research and Innovation, the report states that the employment growth rate of R&D‐performing SMEs funded by Eurostars was nearly twice as high as that of applicant SMEs which were not funded. Moreover, the Joint Eurostars Programme has accelerated the development and roll‐out of new and improved products, processes and services, and has stimulated new cross-border collaborations that the members of the funded consortia intend to continue beyond the Eurostars funding period.
The report emphasises that SMEs play an important and needed role in the “innovation pipeline”/”innovation value chain”. In order to unlock the full potential of SMEs in these value chains the report suggests developing suitable targets and indicators. It also recommends a much closer interaction with large companies - one effective measure in that sense could be the requirement for large companies to involve a specific number of SMEs in their EU projects.
Eurostars is a joint programme between EUREKA and the European Commission supporting international innovative projects led by small- and medium-sized enterprises. With its bottom-up approach, the programme supports the development of rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services.