Eureka World of Innovation

This year’s Eurostars Funding Agencies Conference took place on Thursday 1 October in Brussels. Over 55 participants representing many of the Eurostars participating countries, funding agencies and representatives from the European Commission were present. Future cooperation of funding agencies, synchronisation and further involvement at a regional level were the main topics on the agenda.

Luuk Borg, who heads the EUREKA Secretariat (ESE) and responsible for the Eurostars Programme, opened the conference. “This is the beginning of a long and fruitful way of collaboration between member states and funding agencies,” he said, adding that funding agencies are greatly involved in EUREKA activities. The aim of the conference was to convince, challenge and bring the right questions to the participants in order to make the Eurostars Programme even better. “The Eurostars Programme works well and has attracted a number of other initiatives like ERA-Net, Cornet and EraSME,” Borg added in his conclusion of the first session.

Michel Vanavermaete, IT and Projects manager (ESE), with Peter Chisnall, Eurostars Scientific and Technical Advisor spoke of the technical aspects and the funding availability of Eurostars. They explained the different stages of the evaluation process as well as the application procedures. The process, set-up and management structure of the Programme were further explained.

David Garlot, EUREKA’s R&D and Trends Analyst, presented the results of the previous Eurostars Programme application cut-offs and the most important trends. Most interesting to note is that 80% of applicants are R&D-performing SMEs, suggesting that Eurostars is reaching its main target. The main technological areas, representing more than 80% of applications come from ICT, biotechnology and industrial technologies.

Veerle Notaert, Administration and Chair Support manager (ESE), explained the bilateral agreements between ESE and the national funding agencies and their legal background.

The afternoon session of the conference was dedicated to a lively debate on ‘The potential regional dimension of the Eurostars Programme’ and ‘Future Cooperation of the National Funding Bodies within Eurostars’.

Advantages and disadvantages of developing the regional dimension of Eurostars; increasing Eurostars funding through the regions or through the increase of national committed budget; and where the Eurostars programme is doing well in terms of synchronisation were some of the questions answered by members of the panel.

The fourth Eurostars Programme application cut-off date is Thursday 25th February 2010.

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