Eureka: cross-border innovation

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.

Who can submit a Eureka project?

Consortia comprising Swiss universities, universities of applied sciences, companies and at least one partner from a Eureka country can apply to Innosuisse for funding. Firms can also take part in Eureka projects with self-funding.

Eureka network projects can be submitted at any time. To apply, use the Eureka portal or contact the Swiss project coordinator (see contact box on the right).

Who can submit a Eureka cluster project?

Eureka clusters are directed and co-funded by large companies. Their aim is to build platforms for future key technologies with a view to bolstering European competitiveness. Eureka clusters usually publish a theme-based call for project proposals once a year. These calls can be accessed on the websites of the individual clusters. Consortia comprising Swiss universities of applied sciences, companies and at least one partner from a Eureka country can apply to Innosuisse for funding. Firms can also take part in Eureka projects with self-funding.

Further information on Eureka clusters.

Last modification 31.08.2021

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Eureka Project Coordinator Switzerland
Colette John-Grant
+41 58 466 77 32


Eurostars 2 Project Coordinator Switzerland
Janique Siffert
+41 58 466 70 70


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