EUREKA (Σ!) ( Intergovernmental Network)
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- an intergovernmental network established in 1985
- a leading facilitator of innovation, providing a proven
platform for international R&D&I cooperation
- EUREKA promotes and supports market-oriented
international R&D&I project generation.
- EUREKA facilitates access to finance for companies
involved in its projects.
What is EUREKA?
EUREKA is a European initiative launched in 1985. It aims primarily to stimulate research efforts of enterprises and to develop their innovation capacity. EUREKA assists them in unifying their resources and to collaborate with research institutes for the development of advanced technologies and market oriented products.
'Bottom up' is EUREKA's ground rule. Participants have full responsibility for defining and implementing their scientific and technological co-operation projects. They make their own decisions on the best way towards new markets.
EUREKA also offers itself as a forum for direct dialogue between governments and standardisation bodies, between EUREKA participants who are in need of joint industrial standards and who are hampered either by technical, commercial or administrative obstacles.
As of March 2018, EUREKA has 41 full members, including the European Union (represented by the European Commission), 1 partner country (South Korea) and 4 associated members (Argentina, Canada, Chile, South Africa) All 27 EU Member States are also members of EUREKA.
EUREKA is not an EU research program, but rather an intergovernmental organisation, of which the EU is a member. Cooperation and synergy are sought between EUREKA and the research activities of the EU proper, notably with European Union's Horizon 2020 and the European Research Area.
How is EUREKA functionning?
EUREKA: A flexible de-centralised structure
National Project Coordinators (NPC's)
The NPC's are, together with the EUREKA Secretariat, the operational core of the EUREKA network, the interface between participants and the EUREKA network. They also form a link with the relevant national authorities and are in close contact with their counterparts in the other EUREKA member states. Through the NPC network, the national EUREKA offices will usually be able to find suitable partners for their industry or research institutes and help them create sound projects.
The Secretariat is EUREKA's central support unit located in Brussels. It gathers and distributes information on projects, runs the project database, assists the various bodies of the initiative, facilitates contacts between partners and promotes the EUREKA concept in conjunction with national authorities.
High Level Group
EUREKA's general policy is formulated and implemented by a high level group of experts appointed by the national governments and by a delegate of the European Commission.
The Ministerial Conference is the political body of EUREKA. It decides on the general orientations and is responsible for furthering the initiative and its aims. It is composed of ministers from the member countries and a Commissioner from the European Commission.
It meets once a year to lay down the political guidelines for EUREKA's work and officially announces the new EUREKA projects launched since its previous meeting.
Technical areas, Umbrellas, Clusters and projects
What is a EUREKA Umbrella?
Umbrellas are thematic networks within the EUREKA framework which focus on a specific technology area or business sector. The main aim of an umbrella is to facilitate the generation of EUREKA projects in its own target area. Umbrella activities are co-ordinated and implemented by a working group consisting of EUREKA representatives and industrial experts.
What is a EUREKA Cluster?
Clusters are industry-led project initiatives in a particular area of strategic interest for transnational, cooperative, precompetitive research and development. Individual projects in the clusters (sub-projects) are generated and labelled by industry itself.
The EUREKA projects
The EUREKA projects are developed in all important technological areas which interest the industry: Communications, Energy, Environment, Information, Lasers, Medical and Biotechnological Technologies, New materials, Robotics and automation, Transport .. but also areas such as Cultural Heritage and Multimedia.
Taking part in EUREKA projects
EUREKA is addressed to companies who are likely to undertake research & development activities within European networks.
Long lasting and expensive research often preceeds production of commercially promissing developments. Furthermore, a technological advance in one industrial area can have stimulating effects in many other areas. For these reasons, it is often better to work in partnership and to share the research costs.
EUREKA: open procedures
The ground rule prevents unnecessary bureaucracy and provides a simple set of criteria for establishing EUREKA projects, among which:
- involvement of at least two partners from different EUREKA member countries
- aim at securing a significant technological advance in the product, process or service concerned
- to be oriented towards applications in the civilian sector.
Any proposal should be presented to the National project Coordinator (NPC) who will advise and assist the applicant and handle further contacts within the EUREKA structure, thus allowing industry and research institutes to concentrate on the content and business aspects of the proposed projects.
The application procedure to establish or join a EUREKA project is very simple and so constructed that a well founded project can be up and running relatively quickly.
In the Central and Eastern European countries, a network of EUREKA National Information Points has been set up to provide the industries and researchers in these countries with any relevant information.
EUREKA: Added value
EUREKA projects and participants are eligible to carry the EUREKA Seal - an internationally recognised hallmark of excellence.
The participants will also be included in EUREKA's open database which lists by name and technological skills some 4000 of Europe's foremost companies and research institutes. As such, a EUREKA participant is marketed all over Europe and is likely to attract attention and contacts from partners searching for specific technological skills to develop new products, processes or services.
EUREKA projects have in many cases access to public financial backing for their research and development activities. The participants themselves are, however, responsible for securing adequate funding.
EUREKA also acts as a contact point and support for participants seeking access to private funding sources, such as venture capital.
EUREKA possesses considerable experience in cross-border cooperation and will assist participants who request help in drafting project contracts.
Who can join EUREKA?
EUREKA Projects are funded through national funding mechanisms. Therefore, different national rules are applied in each EUREKA country.