Eureka (organization)

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Eureka logo
Type intergovernmental organisation
Focus Market R&D support, innovation policy, science & technology
Area served
Greater Europe
41 Members, 3 Associated Members
Key people
  • Sweden Per Tervahauta
    (Chair of the EUREKA Network)
  • Pedro de Sampaio Nunes
    (Head of the EUREKA Secretariat)

EUREKA, often abbreviated as E!, or Σ! (from the ancient Greek way to write "E" and unrelated to modern "Sigma") is an intergovernmental organisation for pan-European research and development funding and coordination. EUREKA aims to coordinate efforts of governments, research institutes and commercial companies concerning innovation. It does not partake in military research and follows a "bottom-up" approach to R&D funding, industry itself deciding which projects should be developed.

As of October 2014, EUREKA has 41 full members, including the European Union (represented by the European Commission). All 28 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.


The organisation's primary objective is to raise the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. It also aims to boost national economies on the international market and to strengthen the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment in Europe.


Founded in 1985 by major figures of the European political scene, EUREKA's steady growth over the years has helped to make it one of the longest running European organisations dedicated to the financing of joint European R&D projects. EUREKA is loosely affiliated with COST, its non-competitive research counterpart, although the two focus on different aspects of R&D with COST's efforts geared towards more socially focused areas of public interest while EUREKA's mandate is to provide funding for projects envisaged, developed, and executed by private industry.


EUREKA was established with the "Paris Declaration" of July 17, 1985, and its principles are based on the later Hannover Declaration, subscribed by Ministers on November 6, 1985. The two main founders were former head of states François Mitterrand (France) and Helmut Kohl (Germany). Other important personalities involved were Hubert Curien, French ex-Minister of Research and former Chairman of the European Space Agency and Jacques Attali, adviser to François Mitterrand.

Briefly, it [EUREKA] is about assuring the technological independence of Europe in the key domains of the future; encouraging, wherever possible, co-operation between European businesses and researchers; mobilising the necessary financial resources; accompanying the efforts of our enterprises by creating the necessary environment and supporting the unification of our internal markets.

There are numerous obstacles. Once the initial idea of EUREKA was formulated, we were able to foresee the difficulties to be faced. But we know that each time we come together — for example to address high-energy physics, research into nuclear fusion, the development of an integrated space programme or the construction of crucial scientific equipment — our successes encourage us in the idea that we can work together in R&D areas close to industrial markets, despite the problems arising from the normal and legitimate competition between firms. François Mitterrand, Paris, 17 July 1985.[1]


  • 1985: Launch of EUREKA Initiative on 17 July • The European Community and 18 countries sign the Hannover Declaration on 6 November • The first ten projects are announced
  • 1986: Three strategic initiatives - E! 127 JESSI, E! 45 Prometheus and E! 95 HDTV - are approved, with a combined value of almost €5.3 billion • First Umbrellas (thematic networks) are created to share expertise across technology areas or business sectors • The EUREKA Secretariat is established in Brussels • Iceland joins
  • 1987: 58 new projects are announced • Total since start-ups reach 167 • EUREKA database is initiated
  • 1988: With funding of €20 million, project E! 24 GTO[N 1] is first to reach completion, delivering thyristors for faster, smoother and more efficient high-speed rail locomotive propulsion
  • 1989: Strategic initiative JESSI is launched to rebuild European competitiveness in microelectronics
  • 1990: After the fall of the Berlin Wall, EUREKA opens the door to central and eastern European countries • Hungary becomes the first CEEC partner (participating in the €55 million E! 226 EUROLASER SOLID[N 2])
  • 1991: The Budapest Conference invites closer CEEC co-operation • National Information Points are set up to facilitate participation
  • 1992: 7 September is named 'EUREKA Day' at the World Expo, Seville • Hungary acquires full membership
  • 1993: "L'innovation au quotidien" exhibition in Paris highlights impact of EUREKA on everyday life • 150 new projects launched with an estimated €1.0bn funding • Russian Federation joins
  • 1994: Lillehammer Award established to reward environmental achievement – E! 160 FERMSEP[N 3] is the first winner • Vision EUREKA event in Lillehammer attracts 2,000 researchers and industrialists to 17 conferences • Slovenia joins
  • 1995: FACTORY Umbrella for manufacturing succeeds FAMOS • Special relationship forged with European Space AgencyCzech Republic and Poland join
  • 1996: First EUREKA website comes on-line • E! 1588 ORACLE[N 4]) begins to tackle landmine clearance problem
  • 1997: E! 1535 MEDEA[N 5] Cluster takes over from JESSI as vehicle for system innovation in microelectronics • Continuous and Systematic Evaluation scheme deployed • Romania joins
  • 1998: ICT Clusters E! 1884 EURIMUS (microsystems)[N 6] and E! 2023 ITEA (software-intensive systems)[N 7] launched • EUREKA participates in Pavilion of the Future at World Expo in Lisbon
  • 1999: Strategic review of EUREKA identifies networking as key to success in innovation • E! 1888 PIDEA Cluster (electronic interconnection and packaging) launched • Lithuania joins
  • 2000: Croatia, Israel, and Latvia join
  • 2001: Estonia and Slovakia join
  • 2002: Cyprus, and Serbia join
  • 2003: ICT Cluster E! 3187 CELTIC (telecommunications solutions) launched
  • 2004: Ministerial Conference in Paris announces 212 new projects (budget €518 million) and six new Clusters • Completed project total reaches 1,800 with a total value of €18.0bn
  • 2005: Czech Republic becomes the first Eastern European country to chair EUREKA• Monaco and San Marino join
  • 2006: Malta and Ukraine join
  • 2007: Launch of the Eurostars programme in partnership with the European Commission, which invests 100 million euros in the project over 6 years
  • 2008: Macedonia joins
  • 2009: Running projects hit the 1000 mark • South Korea becomes an associated country of EUREKA and Bosnia and Herzegovina joins as a National Information Point
  • 2010: Bulgaria joins EUREKA• Israel assumes the Chairmanship for the first time
  • 2012: Canada becomes an associated country of EUREKA
  • 2014: South Africa becomes an associated country of EUREKA
  • 2017: Chile becomes an associated country of EUREKA



The EUREKA Chair rotates yearly among Eureka's member countries, with a mandate running from July to June of the following year. It implements a three-year rolling programme in cooperation with the previous and future Chairs (the 'Troika') with a goal of sustaining the momentum of Eureka's work. Its role is to assist the chair country in organising the coming year's ministerial or inter-parliamentary conference (MC or IPC), as well as high-level group (HLG), executive group (EG) and national project coordinator (NPC) meetings, which it also chairs. The Chair represents Eureka externally and agrees with the ESE (Secretariat) on the level of support it should provide, which is then incorporated into the ESE’s business plan.[2]

Ministerial Conference – MC

The ministerial conference is where the member country ministers lay down political guidelines, decide on further developments, approve/dismiss members, and officially announce new EUREKA projects endorsed during the Chairmanship year. It biennially gathers the ministers from each member country and a Commissioner from the European Commission (EC).

Inter-Parliamentary Conference – IPC

Taking place in alternate years to the ministerial conference, the inter-parliamentary conference raises the public awareness of EUREKA's role and possibilities and makes recommendations on strategic issues to be presented to ministers.

High-Level Group – HLG

The high-level group is the key decision-making body of EUREKA. The ministry responsible for Eureka in each member country names its high-level representative (HLR) which in turn endorses new projects, takes decisions on the management of Eureka and prepares new policy discussions for the ministerial conference.

Executive Group – EG

The executive group is a small group with members from the Troika countries, meeting at least eight times a year. It reports and implements the decisions taken by the HLG. It represents a balance of Eureka members, whose role is to act as an executive body on behalf of the HLG. An EC member is also invited to attend EG meetings. The EG is also responsible for debating key policy issues, deciding on topics delegated by the HLG and advising successive Chairs.

Eureka Secretariat – ESE

The Eureka Secretariat, based in Brussels, is an international non-profit association under Belgian law, acting as the central support unit for the network. The ESE manages the EUREKA project database and undertakes marketing, communications and network-development activities. It is also responsible for the collection and dissemination of information on projects, and in cooperation with the Chair and the national offices promotes the Eureka philosophy.

Executive Board - EB

The executive board has the same members as the executive group and is the body solely responsible for management of the ESE.

General Assembly – GA

The general assembly is the highest-level body of the ESE. It is vested with all the powers necessary to perform the objectives of the association.

High Level Group Representatives – HLRs

High Level Representatives (HLR) comprise the decision-making High Level Group (HLG). Each member country names a HLR to Eureka, who in turn endorses new projects, decides the management of EUREKA, and prepares policy discussions for the Ministerial Conferences.

National Project Coordinators – NPCs

National Project Coordinators run the national EUREKA offices at an operational level and are responsible for project generation, national and international support and follow-up. They are the direct contact with project participants facilitating the setting-up and running of a project. NPCs meetings (4-5 times annually) are the forum for the exchange of experiences and best-practices discussions.

National Information Points - NIPs

Apart from preparing countries for full EUREKA membership, the national information points-status was set up to provide industry and research institutes with an easy interface with EUREKA and to facilitate participation in projects.[clarification needed]


Before 1989, EUREKA chairmanship changed hands every six months. Since then, the chairmanship rotates every 1 July, for a period of one year.

Year Countries
1985, 2nd semester  France
1986, 1st semester  Germany
1986, 2nd semester  United Kingdom
1987, 1st semester  Sweden
1987, 2nd semester  Spain
1988, 1st semester  Denmark
1988, 2nd semester  Austria
1989–1990  Italy
1990–1991  Netherlands
1991–1992  Finland
1992–1993  France
1993–1994  Norway
1994–1995   Switzerland
1995–1996  Belgium
1996–1997  United Kingdom
1997–1998  Portugal
1998–1999  Turkey
1999–2000  Germany
2000–2001  Spain
2001–2002  Greece
2002–2003  Denmark
2003–2004  France
2004–2005  Netherlands
2005–2006  Czech Republic
2006–2007  Italy
2007–2008  Slovenia
2008–2009  Portugal
2009–2010  Germany
2010–2011  Israel
2011–2012  Hungary
2012–2013  Turkey
2013–2014  Norway
20142015   Switzerland
2015–2016  Sweden
2016–2017  Spain
2017–2018  Finland


Member country Joined
 Austria 1985
 Belgium 1985
 Bulgaria 2010
 Croatia 2000
 Cyprus 2002
 Czech Republic 1995
 Denmark 1985
 Estonia 2001
 Finland 1985
 France 1985
 Germany 1985
 Greece 1985
 Hungary 1992
 Iceland 1986
 Ireland 1985
 Israel 2000
 Italy 1985
 Latvia 2000
 Lithuania 1999
 Luxembourg 1985
 Macedonia 2008
 Malta 2006
 Monaco 2005
 Montenegro 2012
 The Netherlands 1985
 Norway 1985
 Poland 1995
 Portugal 1985
 Romania 1997
 Russia 1993
 San Marino 2005
 Serbia 2002
 Slovakia 2001
 Slovenia 1994
 Spain 1985
 Sweden 1985
  Switzerland 1985
 Turkey 1985
 Ukraine 2006
 United Kingdom 1985
 European Union 1985
Associated Countries Joined
 South Korea 2009
 Canada 2012
 South Africa 2014
 Chile 2017

National Information Points

Neither Albania nor Bosnia and Herzegovina are full members of EUREKA; however, R&D companies from those countries can address a National Information Point to receive funding through EUREKA. Several research projects put forward by participants from Albania and from Bosnia and Herzegovina have already been completed or are ongoing.

Associated Countries

Countries that are not within the geographical borders of Europe can join EUREKA as associated countries. The only associated countries are South-Korea, which joined in 2009, Canada, which joined in 2012, South Africa which joined in 2014, and Chile which joined in 2017.

Selected projects

Eureka projects are numbered, preceded by 'E! '.

  • E! 45 helped to fund the Prometheus project for safer road vehicles, such as through autonomous driving with 745 million euros.[N 8]
  • E! 95 was a 730 million euros HDTV project, which created the HD-MAC standard for high definition television.[N 9]
  • E! 147 was a 93 million euros digital audio broadcasting project whose technologies went into Musicam, and which was used as the basis for MPEG-1 Layer II (MP2) and used in DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast), and ASPEC (Adaptive Spectral Perceptual Entropy Coding), which was used in a modified form in MP3 audio.[N 10]
  • E! 127 paid 3.8bn euros into the JESSI project (Joint European Submicron Silicon Initiative) whose goal was to regain ground lost to Asia and the USA in microchips.[N 11]
  • E! 2551 cost 6.1 million euros for the integration of existing CAD/CAM programs under a common user interface, part of which was paid to Vero Software.[N 12]
  • E! 3674 is Information Technology for European Advancement (ITEA2), an industry-driven cooperative R & D programme for maintaining European leadership in software-intensive systems, with the project due to end in January 2014 having received 3.0bn euros. ITEA2 Projects notably include WellCom, OSAMI-E (Open Source AMbient Intelligence) and Easy Interactions.[N 13]
  • E! 4986 AlienVault developed a security software called OSSIM (Open Source Security Information Management) that is now not only a reference in the field but also an essential component in modern cyber-wars. E! 4986 received 1.2 million euros.
  • E! 3728 OMIM (MIMO) invented a new method of medical waste disposal. MIMO is safe for the environment and treats infectious waste by applying a combination of heat and pressure. This is an alternative to incineration methods that use fossil fuels. The project was an initiative between Spain, Portugal and Morocco. E! 3728 received 0.37 million euros.


Lillehammer Award

This was the EUREKA Environmental Award established in 1994 by the then Norwegian chair, in the town whose name it bears. With this award, Eureka recognised the contribution made by a project to improving Europe's environment, developing sustainable solutions to the problems of waste and pollution.

Lynx Award

The Lynx Award was established in 2001 during the Spanish chairmanship to highlight fast-growing, high-tech SMEs which offer good prospects for private investors. Companies eligible for the award indicated additional turnover (approx. 25%) resulting from participation in a Eureka project or Eureka cluster sub-project. The winner receives €10,000 and the "EUSY" trophy (the Eureka symbol embodying the spirit and challenge of innovation, introduced by the Hellenic chairmanship).


EUREKA ‘Clusters’ are long-term, strategically significant industrial initiatives. They usually have a large number of participants, and aim to develop inclusive technologies of key importance for European competitiveness mainly in ICT, energy and more recently in the biotechnology and automation sectors. Eureka Clusters are known to have had a particular impact on the ability of the European microelectronics sector to compete with other continents.

Eureka Clusters are
  • CATRENE: for microelectronics and nanoelectronics
  • EURIPIDES: for electronic packaging and smart systems
  • ITEA 3: for software-intensive systems
  • CELTIC Plus: for telecommunications
  • EUROGIA2020: for low-carbon energy technologies
  • MF.IND: for advanced production systems
  • ACQUEAU: for water related technologies and innovation[EL 1]


Umbrellas are thematic networks within the Eureka framework which focus on a specific technology area or business sector. The main goal of an umbrella is to facilitate the generation of EUREKA projects in its own target area.

Eureka Umbrellas (past and present) are
  • Eureka Tourism (ended 30.06.2012)
  • Eureka build 2 (2010–2013)
  • EuroAgri Foodchain (2009–2013)
  • Pro-Factory (2007–2011)[EL 2]
  • E! SURF (2010–2015)
  • Eniwep (Ended 1.2.2010)
  • Eulasnet II (Ended 31.5.2010)
  • Logchain + (Ended 21.2.2011)


EUREKA's Eurostars Programme is the first European funding and support programme to be specifically dedicated to research-performing SMEs. Eurostars has the goal of stimulating them to lead international collaborative research and innovation projects by easing access to support and funding.

A Eurostars project is any European R&D project addressing a civilian purposed technological area aimed at the development of a new product, process, or service.

Eurostars projects are collaborative efforts which must involve at least two separate participants from different Eurostars participating countries, and the main participant must be a research-performing SME from the list of member countries to join before mid-2002.

The programme also requires that the SME participants have a significant role, contributing at least 50% of the project's core activity (with some allowance for minor contracting); and that it be a well balanced collaboration with no single participant or country being expected to contribute more than 75% of the total investment.

Eurostars projects are also limited to a maximum duration of three years, with the funded research's market launch occurring within two years of project completion; or, in the case of biomedical or medical projects, starting clinical trials within two years of project completion.


  1. ^ "20TH Anniversary Report – Two decades of support for European innovation" (PDF). Belgium: the EUREKA Secretariat. September 2005. pp. 68 p. 12 (PDF–p. 18). Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "EUREKA Structure". EUREKA Network. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 


  1. ^ "EUREKA Project > 24 GTO – GTO (Gate Turn Off) Thyristors ". Eureka. 1988-03-30. 
  2. ^ "EUREKA Project > 226 SOLID – High Power Solid-State Laser ". EUREKA. 1996-02-12. 
  3. ^ "EUREKA Project > 160 FERMSEP – Development of Mineral Membranes and Processes for Separating Biological Fermentation Products ". EUREKA. 1992-08-30. 
  4. ^ "EUREKA Project > 1588 ORACLE – Obstacle Removal And land CLearing Equipment ". EUREKA. 2004-05-13. 
  5. ^ "EUREKA Project > 1535 MEDEA – MicroElectronics Development for European Applications - Execution Phase ". EUREKA. 2001-10-30. 
  6. ^ "EUREKA Project > 1884 EURIMUS – EUREKA industrial initiative for Microsystem USes ". EUREKA. 2001-10-30. 
  7. ^ "EUREKA Project > 2023 ITEA – Information Technology for European Advancement ". EUREKA. 2009-04-15. 
  8. ^ "EUREKA Project > 45 PROMETHEUS – PROgramMe for a European Traffic system with Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety ". Eureka. 1995-03-30. 
  9. ^ "EUREKA Project > 95 HDTV (IMP) – Compatible High Definition Television (HDTV) System (Phase III Implementation) ". Eureka. 1994-07-05. 
  10. ^ "EUREKA > 147 DAB (IMP) – Digital Audio Broadcasting system ". EUREKA. 2001-04-08. 
  11. ^ "EUREKA Project > 127 JESSI – Joint European Submicron Silicon Initiative ". Eureka. 1997-06-05. 
  12. ^ "EUREKA Project > 2551 VISI-XX – Integration of Existing CAD/CAM Programs under a Common User Interface — Vero International Software ". EUREKA. 2004-12-21. 
  13. ^ "Eureka Project > 3674 ITEA 2 – European Leadership in Software-Intensive Systems — Information Technology for European Advancement ". EUREKA. 25 June 2006. 

External links

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