Eligibility criteria

Eurostars is a funding programme that supports innovative SMEs and project partners (large companies, universities or research organisations) by funding international collaborative R&D and innovation projects. Projects should result in the creation of new products, processes and services that can be rapidly commercialised in European or global markets.

To apply, you must fulfil seven eligibility criteria:

  • The project consortium is led by an innovative SME* from a participating country**.
  • The project consortium is composed by at least two entities that are independent of one another.
  • The project consortium is composed by entities from at least two participating countries, with at least one organisation coming 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 fewer.
  • The project has an exclusive focus on civil applications. 

To better understand these criteria, read our eligibility guidelines.

*SMEs (according to the EU definition) with the ambition to collaborate on R&D and innovation with foreign 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.

**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, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. 

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

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

Contact your national funding body