Eureka hearing 'SMEs and EUREKA'

October 25, 2006

Brussels/Rome: The Italian EUREKA Chairmanship together with the EUREKA Network will organize a hearing entitled "SMEs and EUREKA" which will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium at 15:00 - 17:00 on 21 November 2006.

The hearing will address the principle aspects of SMEs involvement in collaborative R&D in Europe and the role of EUREKA in this process. The hearing will focus on the planned EUREKA Eurostars programme. The hearing will be an important forum to assess the optimum approach in supporting R&D and innovation in SMEs in Europe.
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EUREKA Hearing "SMEs and EUREKA":

Date: 21 November 2006
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
Venue: The European Parliament, PHS 7C050, Rue Wiertz 60, Brussels, B-1047, Belgium
www.isc-europe.com

The Eurostars Programme

By the end of this year, the European Commission will have submitted the Article 169 to the European Council and the European Parliament for establishing the joint programme Eurostars. This new funding scheme specifically targets R&D performing SMEs with high growth potential.

Eurostars is aimed at R&D performing small and medium-size enterprises that are key players in the innovation based companies, characterized by a strong customer or market orientation. They need a financial boost to bring new products, processes or services to the market faster than would otherwise be possible.

The Eurostars Programme will be accessible through the network of EUREKA National Project Coordinators. Projects will be selected by an international and independent expert panel. The programme is expected to be rolled out in 2007, with the first call for proposals in the Spring. The selection process and project approvals will take place in the following three months, with the first grants and payments in early 2008.

At the moment, 22 EUREKA member countries are on board, creating, together with the European Commission, a programme worth 64 million euro each year. This budget is expected to increase in the coming years.

The Eurostars Programme will: The EUREKA Initiative is very effective network for pan European R&D co-operation. Among its advantages this intergovernmental network supporting industry-driven innovation are fast, flexible, bureaucratic and "bottom-up" procedures. Its main challenge has been that, while able to facilitate a company access to national R&D funding, EUREKA itself is not a funding mechanism.

The European Commission Research Framework Programme (FP) traditionally commits substantial financial resources for R&D to SMEs. However this FP funding only comprises around to commit substantial additional financial resources to R&D performing SMEs in European research projects. Hence the Eurostars programme will combine the best of three worlds: it brings together the advantages of the EUREKA Initiative with the Framework Programme and national innovation and funding instruments.

Eurostars will contribute to European competitiveness, innovation, employment and economic development and will help achieve the Barcelona objective. As an initiative of the EUREKA network it will support, through its bottom up approach, research and development activities, carried out by transnational consortia, led by a Eurostars SME and cooperating with partners in other SMEs, research bodies and large companies.

More information about EUREKA may be found at: http://www.eureka.be/home.do

ISC-Intelligence in Science

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