EUREKA is a public network supporting R&D-performing businesses. Founded in 1985 by French President Mitterrand and German Chancellor Kohl, to challenge the increasing migration of R&D and industrial innovation to Asian and North-American countries, EUREKA now unites 40 member countries and also counts the European Union as its 41st member. Together, they promote international, market-oriented research and innovation through the support they offer to small and medium-sized enterprises, large industry, universities and research institutes. Through EUREKA, these organisations are introducing new products, processes and services to market, helping make Europe economically strong and socially sound. The EUREKA projects are financed through national public and private funding and these projects must result in a marketable product, process or service.
The main document of the EUREKA Initiative is the Declaration of Hanover. In it there are set out the initiative`s objectives, priorities and criteria for the projects, the general conditions, the project implementation, the coordination and the linkages between EUREKA, the countries of the EC and other forms of European cooperation.
EUREKAsupports THREE types of projects: Clusters, Individual Projects and Eurostars Projects.
EUREKA Clusters are long-term, strategically significant public-private partnerships. Most of Europe’s leading companies participate in EUREKA Clusters, developing generic technologies of key importance to European competitiveness.
Individual Projects are small, shorter-term projects and they involve participants from at least two member countries. The result in a product, process or service is with a significant advance in their sector. Some of these projects are grouped together in a thematic network, known as an Umbrella. EUREKA Umbrellas are thematic networks that focus on a particular technology or business sector. Their goal is to generate and support R&D projects in their specific field of operation.
EUREKA’s Eurostars Programme is the first European funding and support programme to be specifically dedicated to research-performing SMEs. Eurostars stimulates them to lead international collaborative research and innovation projects. The Eurostars mission is “To support R&D-performing entrepreneurs, by funding their research activities, enabling them to compete internationally and become leaders in their sector.”
On 25.06.2010, Bulgaria became a full member of the EUREKA Initiative, after the declaration of the country’s accession was signed by the Deputy Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism: Evgeni Angelov and Federal Minister of Education and Research of Germany: Prof. Annette Schavan. The signing took place during the 25th Ministerial Conference of Berlin.
By Decision № 658 of the Council of Ministers of 23 July 2009 the Government approved the participation of Bulgariain the EUREKA Initiative and the joint program EUROSTARS. The Bulgarian institution that is responsible for the organization and coordination of participation in EUREKAand joint program EUROSTARS is Bulgarian small and medium enterprises promotion agency (BSMEPA) – http://www.sme.government.bg . The cost of financing the Bulgarian national organizations, that are involved in the initiative EUREKA projects and the joint program EUROSTARS, are charged to the budget of the National Innovation Fund and they are under the rules governing the funding of the National Innovation Fund.
More details can be found on the EUREKA`s website: www.eureka.be .