Our history

Eureka is an international network established in 1985 as an agreement between 18 countries to foster European competitiveness and integration and to encourage R&D cooperation. Since then, we have expanded to include over 45 countries in Europe and beyond who share the same goals and have national funding available to organisations who apply through our programmes.

Founders François Mitterand, Helmut Kohl, Hubert Curien and Jacques Attali sought to drive innovative R&D discoveries to commercialisation, with Mitterand believing in “Accompanying the efforts of our enterprises by creating the necessary environment and supporting the unification of our internal markets” (Mitterand 1985). In the Paris declaration on 17 July and the Hannover declaration on 6 November 1985, national governments committed to this mission.

“We wanted to promote a bottom-up approach” (Curien 2005)

Over the years, we have tailored programmes to best support international industry-led R&D projects. These offer flexibility for international partners (Network projects and Globalstars), encourage mixed consortia with large companies (Clusters), allow SMEs to aim higher (Eurostars) and drive companies towards private investment (InvestHorizon).

In following our collaborative strategies, national ministries aim to boost national economies and unify international markets.

Our governing bodies 

Eureka is governed by different groups who represent the interests of Eureka country national ministries. At the highest level is the Ministerial Conference (MC) who choose the next Chair, accept and dismiss new Eureka countries and decide on significant policy and strategy changes.

The High-level Group (HLG) of High-level Representatives (HLRs) from each Eureka country national funding body convene more frequently (three times per year) and are the main decision-making body. They guide the function of Eureka, decide on policy, strategy and the inclusion of new countries, accept annual work programmes and budget, propose and approve appointments made in the Eureka Secretariat (ESE) and supervise the work of national funding bodies.

A subset of the HLG is the Executive Group (EG), which is made up of a smaller number of HLRs from Eureka countries: three representing the past, present and future Chairs and four members to ensure a balance between the most active countries, the size of the country and geographical location. The director of the Eureka Secretariat (ESE) and one representative from the European Commission are invited to observe. The EG has an advisory position for the current Chair and decides political priorities.

A Eureka country holds the Chair from 1 July until 30 June each year. The responsibility of the Chair is to sustain the momentum of work, manage the development of Eureka programmes, ensure that the strategy in place is sustainable and to organise meetings for the decision-making groups.

Every national funding body (NFB) has a National Project Coordinator (NPC) who acts as a support for organisations applying to and participating in R&D projects through our programmes. They propose amendments to procedures and implement common evaluation processes to ensure the quality of Eureka international R&D projects.

Finally, the Eureka Secretariat (ESE) is a central administrative office in Brussels that is responsible for the running and consistency of the programmes. All these groups are dedicated to facilitating international R&D projects for commercialisation.