European Community's RTD Framework Programmes and EUREKA
EUREKA is a pan-European framework for research and development cooperation through which industry and research organisations from 26 European countries and the European Union (EU) develop and exploit the technologies crucial to global competitiveness and a better quality of life.
The European Union has been a member of EUREKA since its inception in 1985.
The European Community's RTD programmes and EUREKA converge towards the same goal:
the reinforcement of the technological bases and the improvement of European industrial competitiveness
EUREKA projects must include partners from at least two different EUREKA Members, one of whom must be from industry, be innovative in their sector, aim at significant technological advance in the product, process or service close to the market; aim at application in the civilian sector; have a financial commitment from the partners. The partners can be supported through national funding following different national rules; they decide upon the research themes and can apply for the EUREKA status all over the year, without fixed deadlines.
European Community's RTD Framework Programme projects must comply with specific eligibility criteria; receive usually around 50% financial support from European Union central funding; are "problem-solving" oriented according to themes defined in the work programmes of the different key actions. They can also focus on longer term development of generic technologies aimed at supporting the substance of the key actions, particularly focusing on socio-economic factors. The research tasks must conform with the scope of the Specific Programme concerned, described in the "calls for proposals" which also indicate the deadline for application in accordance with established Framework Programme principles and procedures. Particular attention is drawn to "Cluster projects". Further details on Cluster Projects can be found in the Guide for Proposers.
The European Union participates in EUREKA through its own research facilities (Joint Research Centre), RTD programmes, as well as by contributing to the creation of a favorable environment for technological co-operation and innovation of enterprises. More precisely, the European Union's involvement in EUREKA currently consists of:
- participation in selected EUREKA projects;
- participation in Umbrella initiatives;
- joint organization of promotional events;
- support for transfer and exploitation of project results;
- early exchange of information;
- contribution to the launching of strategic projects.
These activities are performed by a flexible network of the European Community's RTD Framework Programme managers and EUREKA project co-ordinators.
Increasing synergy between the European Community's Fifth Framework Programme and EUREKA
The Fifth Framework Programme's structure, and in particular the key actions, presents an optimal opportunity for a mutually beneficial complementarity between the two instruments:
- Key actions could bring to EUREKA a wider perspective and a strategic framework;
- EUREKA could offer to the key actions a more focused purpose and a greater market access.
The main features of a successful collaboration between the EUREKA initiative and the Framework Programme are the following:
- pan-European strategic interest;
- large participation of European countries;
- closeness to Framework Programme themes and objectives of Community activities.
Recent Progress on Synergy
The XV EUREKA Ministerial Conference on London 19 June 1997 established a mandate for steps to be taken in order to enhance synergy between EUREKA and the European Community's RTD Framework Programme.
The Synergy Working Group was set up and following several meetings with industrialists, possible themes and forms of co-operation between EUREKA and the European Community's RTD Framework Programme were identified and presented to the XVI EUREKA Ministerial Conference in Lisbon on 30 June 1998.
Two joint strategic projects (EURIMUS and SCARE) were announced. New procedures to facilitate the launching of such projects have been adopted (so-called "Macao Guidelines").
On 29 June 1999 in Istanbul the XVII Ministerial Conference welcomed the EUREKA Strategic Review initiated by the Turkish and the incoming German Chairmanships and mandated by Ministers in Lisbon. Progress on the third Medium Term Plan for EUREKA (1996-2000 ) has been noted by the Turkish Chair through the strategic review of EUREKA. The Ministers agreed on the proposed re-vitalisation scenario and opted for a re-launch and improvement of the EUREKA initiative. The Conference mandated the incoming German Chair to start its implementation plan. Three further strategic projects (so-called Cluster projects PIDEA, ITEA, EUROFOREST) were announced.