The European Commission and EUREKA members have established the EUREKA Eurostars Programme, a joint initiative involving 27 EUREKA countries. This is the first support and funding programme specifically dedicated to R&D oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.
SMEs account for 99 per cent of all businesses in Europe and provide 75 million jobs. However, they often find it difficult to obtain the necessary financial support for projects deemed to be high-risk.
Eurostars is offering a funding package of €800m over six years to support such high-risk R&D projects and transform new ideas into successful businesses.
The European Commission has contributed €100m to the programme and 22 European Union states and five countries associated with the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) have jointly contributed €300m. This public funding will lead to a further €400m of private funding over the six years.
To be eligible for funding from the Eurostars programme a project must involve collaboration between two or more partners from participating countries. The programme is open to involvement from universities, research organisations and larger companies but the main participant should be an SME that invests at least 10% of their annual turnover in R&D. The project must also be market-oriented R&D, aimed at short to medium term commercial results.
The Eurostars programme will be managed by The EUREKA Secretariat in Brussels who will receive project proposals, organise evaluation by independent experts, monitor project progress and manage the financial contributions to the programme.