Eureka was established in 1985 as an agreement between 18 countries and the European Commission to foster competitiveness and market integration and to encourage R&D cooperation.
Since then, we have expanded to include 48 countries (in Europe and beyond) who share the same goals and provide national funding to organisations who apply through our programmes.
Over the years, we have tailored programmes to best support international industry-led R&D. These offer flexibility for international partners (Network projects and Globalstars), encourage mixed consortia with large companies (Clusters), allow SMEs to aim higher (Eurostars), support research and business ventures in new markets (Innowwide) and drive companies towards private investment (investment readiness).
Eureka countries share a common goal of increasing the productivity and excellence of industries and supporting lasting employment and national economic growth by encouraging international collaboration between companies, research organisations and universities. This is achieved through our programmes, where national ministries and agencies fund international R&D and innovation projects. As we increasingly rely on international cooperation to solve global challenges, Eureka (with its growing presence around the world) can help organisations achieve complex R&D and innovation goals.
Eureka supports projects with the following characteristics:
- A civilian purpose
- International collaboration between organisations based in two or more Eureka countries
- R&D of a new product, process or service
- Market-oriented, where participating organisations decide the focus of their research
The Clusters programme facilitates funding for industry-led mid- to long-term R&D projects that can include organisations along a whole value chain. Each of the Clusters supports thematic communities comprised of large companies, SMEs, research organisations, universities and end-users. Because of their scale and the range of organisations participating, Cluster projects often develop highly advanced technologies and receive significant public-private investment.
In 2020, the Clusters launched ten calls for projects, including the first joint AI call between five Clusters, which 16 countries participated in. This call for projects aided the alignment and synchronisation of the Clusters’ processes in anticipation of a new strategy to revitalise the programme that was approved in June. The new Clusters model will encourage industry-wide collaboration and the forming of new innovation ecosystems.
Eurostars is a funding instrument that supports innovative SMEs and project partners (large companies, universities, research organisations and other types of organisations) by funding international collaborative R&D and innovation projects. By participating, organisations from 37 countries can access public funding for international collaborative R&D projects in all fields.
Network projects is Eureka’s original, flexible, bottom-up cooperation programme. Participants are free to decide their technological focus and apply all year round, but the programme model is also used as an efficient platform for National funding bodies to cooperate and launch bilateral and multilateral calls for projects (sometimes thematic or based on a specific technology or market area) with dedicated funds. Alongside many bilateral calls for projects, four large thematic calls on advanced materials, healthy ageing and solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic were launched in 2020, involving a total of 24 Eureka countries. These are a positive indicator for future international R&D collaborations in response to global challenges.
Network projects has a simple mechanism and evaluation methodology that eases international collaboration for both participating National funding bodies and the companies, universities and research organisations applying for funding. National funding bodies can initiate or opt into calls for projects according to national priorities and budget, and the programme allows for any additional rules and eligibility and evaluation assessments.
Based on the simple, optimised mechanism of the Network projects programme, the Globalstars initiative has proven to be an efficient system for global cooperation. Globalstars enables National funding bodies to coordinate and dedicate funds for bilateral or multilateral calls for projects with countries outside the Eureka network. Three successful Globalstars calls for projects were launched in 2020 with India, Singapore and (for the first time) Japan, and the call for projects with Singapore received the most project applications of any Globalstars cooperation yet. Since its realisation in 2016, Globalstars has mobilised 29.1 million euro of public-private investment and organisations from 28 countries have participated.
Globalstars ensures Eureka’s valuable engagement with active R&D markets by providing a means of building sustainable relationships with non-Eureka countries whose companies and organisations have skills and strengths that complement those of Eureka country organisations. Globalstars is part of Eureka’s multi-track approach for internationalisation and can be an entry point for countries’ increased involvement with Eureka (in the form of membership as either an associated or full member country).
Investment readiness programme
InvestHorizon is an investment readiness programme for deep-tech SMEs funded by the European Commission in association with Eureka. The programme was officially launched in May 2019 as a merger of Eureka’s E!nnoVest and the European Commission’s programme, InvestHorizon; a cooperation with the goal of pooling expertise and complementary resources.
The programme offers SMEs free online webinars and courses, bootcamps, peer reviews, workshops, coaching academies and pitching opportunities. It supports collaboration between up to 500 highly innovative SMEs and investors or large companies (through both non-financial and financial partnerships). In 2020, Eureka began to implement additional investment readiness activities as a part of the programme, with a focus on internationalisation and corporate venturing.
The Eureka Association is an international, non-profit legal entity under Belgian Law, and the central support to the network. It is governed by different groups who represent the interests of Eureka country national ministries. The governance of Eureka is outlined in the Regulatory Corpus, which includes the Statutes.
The Eureka Association's highest decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference. The Ministerial Conference chooses the next Chair, accepts and dismisses new Eureka country applications and decides on significant policy and strategy changes. The acting Chair decides whether to hold a Ministerial Conference.
In between Ministerial Conferences, decision-making is delegated to the High-level Group. The High-level Group (comprised of High-level Representatives from each Eureka country) meets three times a year. They develop policies and guide Eureka, ensuring alignment with the Strategic Roadmap, and endorse projects.
The Chair proposes initiatives, sustains Eureka’s momentum and organises network meetings following an annual work plan. The Chair country is always a full member Eureka country and changes every July. Portugal currently holds the annual Eureka Chairmanship, having taken over from Austria in July 2021. The Chairperson (President) is the representative of Eureka.
The Executive Group implements decisions made by the High-level Group and manages the Secretariat. The Executive Group meets at regular intervals throughout the year and is comprised of High-level Representatives from a smaller group of countries (the Chair, past and upcoming Chairs and a
minimum of four more countries that reflect a balance of active countries, country size and geographical position). The Head of the Secretariat and a representative from the European Commission can also be invited to attend.
The National Project Coordinator Group is a consultative group of specialists from National funding bodies who support project generation and are closely involved in Eureka activities. Eureka also establishes temporary working groups that help manage specific strategy, policy and operational activities.
A centralised Secretariat based in Brussels implements strategies and manages the operations of the Eureka network. The day-to-day activities of the Secretariat are managed by the Head of the Secretariat and executed by an international team of some 35 staff members who are highly specialised in their respective fields (legal, finance, IT, marketing and communications, strategy, advocacy, programme management, etc.).
Eureka has three membership statuses: full member, partner country and associated country. A country's membership status is defined by its geographic location and length of commitment to Eureka. Countries with any membership status can participate in all Eureka programmes and events and benefit from all support and resources the Secretariat offers, but do not share the same rights and responsibilities.
Full member status is reserved for countries located geographically in Europe. Countries with full member status can attend, contribute to and vote in the Ministerial Conference, High-level Group, National Project Coordinator Group and any consultative groups they are a part of. They can also be appointed to the Executive Group and request to hold the Eureka Chairmanship. Each year, full member countries pay a membership contribution proportionate to their GDP.
Countries located geographically outside of Europe can apply to be an associated country. Once accepted, this status is valid for the next four years and can be renewed. Representatives from associated countries can attend and observe the Ministerial Conference and High-level Group meetings, but they have no voting rights and cannot be appointed to the Executive Group or hold the Eureka Chairmanship. The High-level Group will also hold closed sessions without associated country representatives. However, associated countries can participate fully in the National Project Coordinator Group and any consultative groups they are a part of. As a result of these reduced participation rights, associated countries pay 50% of full membership contribution.
After eight years (two four-year terms), associated countries can apply to become a partner country. Partner countries share almost all the same rights and responsibilities as full member countries. Representatives from partner countries can attend, contribute to and vote in the Ministerial Conference and all High-level Group meetings (except for matters related to the Eureka Association and countries joining or leaving Eureka), and they can also be invited to attend Executive Group meetings. Partner countries can participate fully in the National Project Coordinator Group and any consultative groups they are a part of. Each year, partner countries pay a membership contribution proportionate to their GDP.
Membership contributions go towards running Eureka programmes and the Secretariat. Contribution amounts are calculated every year based on latest GDP figures. Minimum contribution is 0.12% of the total Eureka budget and the maximum contribution is that of the country with the fourth highest GDP. Once the contributions of the highest contributors and those paying 0.12% have been calculated, the remaining yearly costs are shared between other countries proportional to their GDP. Funding for beneficiaries is in addition to this amount and managed by National funding bodies directly.
To ensure organisations receive the best funding and support through Eureka, there are conditions countries need to meet to join our network. Countries applying must have:
- an active market economy policy and be a member of the World Trade Organization
- democracy and human rights protection in place
- demonstrated commitment to Eureka in the form of participation in a minimum of one Globalstars call for projects or funding a number of projects through other Eureka programmes
- facilities, structures and resources to implement projects
- financial instruments and resources for membership and programme participation
- appropriate framework conditions g. intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and export and non- proliferation control agreements
- If one or more criteria are not met, there will be a preparatory period to reach this
Steps to apply
- The minister (or equivalent) of the country applying writes a formal letter to the Chair (with the Secretariat in copy). The letter is forwarded to all Eureka High-level
- The Executive Group and Secretariat examine the application against the conditions for joining to understand whether membership would be mutually beneficial. A representative from the country applying may present at the Executive Following this analysis, the Executive Group will recommend the country to the Chair.
- The Chair makes a proposal to the High-level Group who decide whether the membership would be mutually beneficial and the conditions for joining have been If so, the Secretariat conducts a full evaluation to verify this and a fact finding mission.
- A final decision is made in a Ministerial Conference or High-level Group meeting where members must vote with a majority to accept the country's A representative from the country presents at this meeting.