Much easier for SMEs to access transnational research and funding
SMEs often face challenges getting financial support for their research and development (R&D) projects, but by taking part in the Eurostars programme, they can be in the driving seat, leading market-orientated R&D projects that will help their company to innovate and conquer new markets.
The Eurostars programme has been given the official seal of approval with a EUR 300 million budget and a further EUR 100 million from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The result of a joint effort between the EUREKA intergovernmental network and the European Commission, the programme offers dynamic research-oriented small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to lead international collaborations on innovative projects. Eurostars fast tracks applications so projects can get off the ground quickly and results can be rapidly brought on to the market.
The proposed programme is targeted towards small consortia driven by an R&D performing SME from one of the 30 participating countries. They currently include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
It must involve at least one other participant from a Eurostars country, which can be an SME, a large enterprise, a university or research organisation. A typical project could involve two to three SMEs plus an R&D supplier, such as a laboratory or institute.
A Eurostars project can address any technological area with the intention of developing a new product, process or service. The project should be market-driven: it must have a maximum duration of three years, and within two years of project completion, the product of the research should be ready for launching on to the market. The exception to this rule applies to biomedical or medical projects, where clinical trials must be started within two years of project completion.
R&D performing businesses must fulfil the EU-adopted definition of an SME (http://ec.europa.eu/research/sme-techweb/pdf/sme-definition_en.pdf) and be based in a Eurostars participating country (http://www.eurostars-eureka.eu/where.do). To qualify as an R&D performing SME, they must dedicate 10% or more of full-time equivalent or annual turnover in research activities.
- Contact: EUREKA Secretariat at www.eurostars-eureka.eu for general information on the Eurostars Programme (in English)