Eurostars is the only Europe-wide funding programme to be specifically designed for innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Eurostars is a joint programme between the EUREKA network of funding agencies and the European Commission, and was until 2013 part of the seventh Framework Programme for research of the EU.
Eurostars project participants have to follow a set of rules in order to be eligible for funding and as Eurostars moves now under the Horizon 2020 flagship, most of the Eurostars eligibility criteria will remain unchanged. The lead-participant of a Eurostars project is always a Small or a Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). A Eurostars project brings together partners from different countries and can address any technological area, but must have a civilian purpose and be aimed at the development of a new product, process or service. The project cannot run for longer than three years and, within two years of its completion, a commercial product resulting from the research performed during the project has to be launched on the market.
'THE EUROSTARS PROGRAMME WILL BE ADAPTED IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAMME OF MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANIES'
A specific set of rules applied until now to the leading SME in a Eurostars project: a certain percentage of its labour force or of its turnover had to be dedicated to research and development activities. Under Horizon 2020, this particular rule of the Eurostars programme will be adapted in order to facilitate the participation in the programme of medium-sized companies involved in the innovation economy. This change will allow the programme to be more adapted to small businesses involved in research processes linked to industrial manufacturing.
Developed under the EUREKA model, the Eurostars programme is committed to closing the gap between research and commercialisation: the new adaptation of the Eurostars eligibility criteria will benefit SMEs in their later stages of growth and support businesses that are the most advanced in the innovation process and the closest to commercial production. This fine-tuning of the funding programme will also help it to better support the European manufacturing sector and encourage innovative SMEs to generate more employments.