Portuguese Chair 2021-2022

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Manuel Heitor Former Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Portugal

Eureka, born in Europe, has built over the last 35 years having expanded throughout the world: in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Americas, at general.

Portugal will become, for the third time, the President and Chairman of the world´s largest inter- governmental innovation and cooperation network starting from July 2021 until June 2022. Especially, in the two previous Presidencies held by Portugal we have always recognized the unique role of the founding principles of Eureka to promote market oriented-open collaborative research and innovation in the public interest of society at general. Particularly by bringing together SMEs with researchers and its institutions and certainly working with large companies. This has been the main contribution of Eureka to show us that international, open collaboration and joint venture is the way to move forward innovation and economic growth.

We are living, throughout the world, the impact of an unexpected pandemic impacting the social- economic stability of many countries which call us for the imperative of international collaboration and Eureka is particularly important to build synergies among different funding sources, and certainly one way in which we can build a better society, together with the opportunities of the digital transition, but certainly guarantee a green and new ecological paradigm.

We are starting a recovery process due to the pandemic, and in this context, one needs more knowledge and innovation to create real-impact innovations for a more digital and green society. And therefore, the founding principles of Eureka are very timely, and we need to show to the World, to Europe, how the Eureka Network is unique for creating market-oriented research and innovation and better jobs for a sustainable future, where no one is left behind.

Manuel Heitor
Former Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Portugal

Portuguese Chairmanship goals


Increase the global outreach of the Eureka network

By encouraging worldwide R&D and innovation collaboration, exploring global cooperation opportunities (especially in Africa and Latin America) and boosting Globalstars calls. Collaboration with international organisations that have important innovative components will also be promoted.


Enhance new forms of cooperation for effective R&D and innovation programmes

By incorporating new memberships and supporting cooperation activities in non-EU countries, along with enhancing synergies with national R&D and innovation instruments. Equally important is the successful launch of the Eurostars-3 programme and strengthening our relationship with the EU within Horizon Europe (including EU missions), as well promoting a link to the Green Deal by consolidating new programmes: Innowwide and InvestHorizon.


Strengthening Eureka's position by reinforcing mechanisms for the generation of projects

By contributing to the revitalisation of the Eureka Clusters Programme by implementing a new governance model, ensuring greater compromise from national funding bodies on the funding of projects, intensifying the participation of industrial key-players at the board of Clusters’ governance structures and promoting collaboration and “cross-fertilisation” between Clusters through the organisation of joint calls. In addition, supporting the launch of a joint thematic call with all Clusters for space-related technologies which would include:

  • Promotion of projects linked with the Green Deal in areas like earth observation from space
  • Increased synergies between space, oceans, atmosphere and climate, leading to a “Digital Twin Earth”
  • Promotion of artificial intelligence (AI) and its combination with earth observation systems data
  • Network expansion towards Europe-Africa and Europe-Latin America interactions

Active dialogue with key industrial players is essential (as Eureka is a bottom-up organisation and the trigger of projects is at industry-level), as well as promoting, as far as possible, the voluntary synchronisation of evaluation and funding among the network.


Adding value to the Eureka label

By underlining the difference between Eureka and other R&D programmes, organising the Global Innovation Summit 2022 and the Eureka Ministerial Conference in June 2022 in Lisbon, along with promoting Eureka awards.