Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Eureka aims to increase political support

Representatives of industries from across Europe agreed a common position for the future role of Eureka, the European initiative for strengthening collaboration in industrial research and development, at a round table meeting in Brussels on 20 May 1999.

The meeting followed t...
Representatives of industries from across Europe agreed a common position for the future role of Eureka, the European initiative for strengthening collaboration in industrial research and development, at a round table meeting in Brussels on 20 May 1999.

The meeting followed the publication, in April of this year, of an independent review of the initiative. The text of this report, the 'Strategic review - Building Europe's innovation network' outlines possible development scenarios for EUREKA, and is available from the organisation's web service at:

URL: http://www.eureka.be/home/strategic-review/

Participants in the discussions favoured further expansion of Eureka's activities to extend beyond Europe, and more and more towards promoting global cooperation. They praised Eureka's role as a tool for promoting the competitiveness of European industrial research in global markets, by helping to strengthen collaboration between European companies. They identified Eureka's closeness to market and bottom-up approach to strengthening European industry as assets. These, the representatives said, should be maintained, alongside the organisation's other current advantages, which include:

- Its industry-driven objectives;
- Its variable geometry in choice of partners;
- Its low administrative burden;
- Its clear position with respect to competition law;
- Its strong and controllable rules for intellectual property rights and protection of confidentiality.

Nevertheless the participants acknowledged the accelerating decline in the scale of Eureka's activities despite a successful track record of projects and favourable reports from participants. To try to counteract this they have agreed on an agenda that will retain the essence of Eureka's current policies, with research and development at its core. It is hoped that the revitalised agenda can be better implemented with the assistance of additional financial commitments and political support.

The meeting suggested a number of changes to the Eureka structure to exploit its potential better. They suggested raising the visibility of Eureka, and implementing mechanisms to allow greater flexibility so that the initiative is able to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing context in which it operates. Eureka should also listen directly to the needs of industry, they said, and welcomed a proposal to involve representatives from industry more closely in steering Eureka through an industry forum. They also recommended that Eureka spreads its support across a more balanced portfolio, with both smaller, more focused projects and larger, strategic projects.

Small and medium-sized businesses are also set to receive assistance from Eureka in the future in their post-R&D commercialisation phase and Eureka also aims to promote the establishment of partnerships between private and public institutions.

However, the industry representatives agreed, any of these measures will be dependent on Eureka's survival, which in turn will require political commitment from the organisation's member states.

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  • Belgium
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