Eurostars eligibility criteria for United Kingdom

co-funded by the european union - european partnership

Eurostars is part of the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs. The partnership is co-funded by the European Union through Horizon Europe.

To apply, you must fulfill seven eligibility criteria:

  • The project consortium is led by an innovative SME* from a Eurostars country.
  • The project consortium is composed of at least two entities that are independent from one another.
  • The project consortium is composed of entities from at least two participating countries with a minimum of one organisation from an EU or Horizon Europe Associated Country.
  • The budget of the SMEs from the participating countries (excluding any subcontracting) is 50% or more of the total project cost.
  • No single participant or country is responsible for more than 70% of the budget of the project.
  • The project duration is 36 months or less***.
  • The project has an exclusive focus on civil applications. 

*We define an innovative SME as any SMEs with the ambition to collaborate on R&D and innovation with international partners to develop new products, processes and services for European and global markets. Innovative SMEs do not need to have a proven track record of R&D activities.

R&D: “Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.” (OECD Frascati Manual 2015, p. 44)

Innovation: “a new or improved product or process (or combination thereof) that differs significantly from the unit’s previous products or processes and that has been made available to potential users (product) or brought into use by the unit (process).” (OECD Oslo Manual 2018, p. 20)

**Eurostars countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.

***Eurostars countries that are not a European Union Member State or a Horizon Europe Associated Country: Canada, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom and European Commission reached political agreement on 7 September 2023 on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe. In agreement with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and Innovate UK, within the current Eurostars-3 call for projects (closing September 2023), there are no changes to existing eligibility requirements relating to the United Kingdom. Consortia with United Kingdom participants will be able to participate in the programme and receive national funding.

***If justified, you may be permitted an extension after your project has started. This must be approved by the Independent Evaluation Panel, Eureka Secretariat and relevant national funding bodies. 

Please read all our guidelines before submitting a project application. If you do not meet all our eligibility criteria, your application will be rejected.

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.
  • Overheads are flatlined at 25% of labour costs.
  • Contributions in kind are not an eligible cost.
  • 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.   

United Kingdom funding body, Innovate UK, funds eligible organisations applying to our Eurostars programme. This is not affected by ongoing negotiations for the United Kingdom’s association to Horizon Europe.

The next steps

Read all our guidelines before submitting your project application.

Go to the guidelines

Check your financial viability. Our tool indicates whether you have the financial capacity to support your costs in the project.

Check your financial viability