Eligibility criteria

The Eurostars programme has eligibility criteria in place to ensure that national funding is allocated to collaborative international R&D projects working on a marketable product, process or service. If your Eurostars project proposal does not meet all our eligibility criteria, your application will be rejected.

Eurostars helps SMEs

Eurostars is primarily a programme for R&D-performing SMEs. This does not exclude the participation of universities or research organisations in a project, but the main project partner must be an R&D-performing SME.

In addition, at least 50% of your total project budget (excluding subcontracting) must come from the SME. If there is more than one R&D-performing SME in the consortium, their combined budgets must equal at least 50% of your total project budget.

Eurostars inspires collaboration

Your project consortium must have partners (independent legal entities) based in at least two different countries participating in the Eurostars programme.

The overall project budget must also reflect the collaborative nature of the Eurostars programme:

  • No single organisation can be responsible for providing more than 75% of the total project budget
  • No participants from any one country can be responsible for providing more than 75% of the total project budget

Eurostars results in commercialisation

Your Eurostars project must research or develop new products, processes or services with commercialisation in mind. To encourage progress towards commercialisation, the Eurostars programme sets deadlines:

  • Projects must be completed less than 36 months after the project start date
  • Market introduction (or the start of clinical trials) must be planned within 24 months of the project’s completion

Other legal requirements

  • Your project must have a civilian purpose
  • None of the participants have convictions for fraudulent behaviour or illegal practices
  • None of the participants have been declared bankrupt

National criteria

Innovate UK has additional national criteria for projects to be eligible to receive funding: 

  • To qualify as an R&D SME, you must either: 
    • invest 10% or more of your turnover into research OR  
    • have 10% of full-time equivalent employees working on research activities OR  
    • have five or more full-time employees working on research activities if the SME has 100 employees or fewer OR 
    • have 10 or more full-time employees working on research activities if the SME has more than 100 employees.   
  • A UK SME can only participate in one Eurostars project at a time. If you have previously participated in a Eurostars project, you must have submitted your final project report to Eureka before the application deadline.  
  • UK participants must have been trading for a minimum of 12 months by the application deadline.  
  • Project costs incurred and the activities undertaken by UK participants that are funded through Eurostars must be conducted in the UK. 
  • Your labour costs must be on a pay as you earn (PAYE) basis.  
  • UK participants can only subcontract up to 20% of a UK partner’s eligible costs.  
  • Partners in your consortium must follow their respective national eligibility criteria. 
  • UK-led projects must be managed by an R&D-performing SME. Project management cannot be subcontracted. 
  • UK companies who have previously received funding from Innovate UK but did not make a substantial effort to exploit their R&D results will not be eligible to receive funding. Your efforts in the previous project will be assessed against your proposed project’s exploitation plan and monitoring officers’ reports and other relevant sources will be reviewed. Three Innovate UK team members will make the decision, document it and communicate it to you in writing. You will not be allowed to contest this decision.   

The next steps

We advise all Eurostars applicants to read the complete guidelines before submitting their project application.

Go to the guidelines

We also recommend Eurostars applicants check their financial viability. This tool indicates whether you have the financial basis you need to apply to the programme. 

Check your financial viability

Contact your national funding body