EUREKA is an independent initiative of the European Commission’s framework programmes for cross-border cooperation projects in market-oriented industrial R&D. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen the member countries’ competitiveness.
This is how EUREKA works.
Under the EUREKA programme, research projects with clear market relevance are elaborated and conducted bottom-up. For SMEs, which presently account for half the partners, this initiative is especially important. Thanks to EUREKA, they can carry out projects efficiently and reap the benefits of international cooperation (networking, cost savings and visibility). They also gain easy access to the European market.
To ensure better coverage of market needs, so-called network projects, cluster initiatives and the Eurostars initiative were developed within the EUREKA network. Clusters are long-term strategic industry initiatives by large companies within EUREKA. Eurostars 2 supports cross-border projects by research-intensive SMEs (see separate description).
Between 1985 and 2015, industry and public authorities spent around EUR 36 billion on 5700 EUREKA projects. The number of new projects per year rose continually from about 50 in 1985 to roughly 300 in 2015. Since the beginning of the initiative, company participation in EUREKA projects has been 70%, with SMEs’ participation rocketing from 5% to over 50% between 1985 and the present.
The cross-national EUREKA initiative was set up in 1985, with Switzerland among the founding members. EUREKA now includes over 40 member countries across Europe along with the four extra-European members South Korea, Canada, South Africa and Chile. Each country is represented by its ministry in charge of innovation and by an innovation funding body.
Last modification 03.09.2019