Eureka World of Innovation

By Dr. Eli Opper, EUREKA High-Level Group Chairman

 

EUREKA members and ministers, policymakers and industry leaders, all gathered in Jerusalem last week to celebrate a quarter century of EUREKA achievements and growth. Indeed, the annual festival of lights covered Jerusalem with an aura of celebration, which only added to the festive atmosphere of EUREKA’s 25th Anniversary Event.

Originally established in 1985 by Germany and France with just 14 founding member countries, the EUREKA network has expanded to include today 39 member states in addition to the EU Commission. And it is expanding even further with the participation of Associated Countries like South Korea, and soon enough, Canada as well. Since its beginnings, substantial public and private funding has been mobilized to support the research and development carried out within the EUREKA framework. And in 25 years, EUREKA has endorsed more than 4,000 projects for a total cost of 30 billion Euros, 10 billion of which were from public funds. EUREKA has helped its member countries deliver high levels of support to companies by leveraging their national funding schemes to successfully generate high-quality, bottom-up, transnational collaborative R&D projects. These have effectively boosted European competitiveness and sustainability.

This year, the EUREKA Network is proud to be celebrating its 25th anniversary. I am so pleased that the 25th Anniversary fell on the year of the Israeli Chairmanship of EUREKA, because it offered us all a unique opportunity to come together in Israel, in Jerusalem, to reflect on our achievements; to declare our commitment to EUREKA and its services with the EUREKA Quarter Century Declaration; to sign cooperation agreements with the Europe Enterprise Network (EEN) and the EUREKA Clusters; and to discuss timely and important topics, here in a country that is in a unique position to serve, in many ways, as a model to other nations in terms of industry, R&D and innovation.

Last week’s events also marked the end of the year-long Israeli Chairmanship of EUREKA. We held our fourth – and final – High Level Group (HLG) and National Project Coordinators (NPC) meetings prior to the 25th Anniversary Event, and passed the gavel (literally) to the Hungarian Chairmanship team. We reflected on our achievements of the year – from pursing expanded international cooperation to creating new instruments for financing innovation with the EInnoVest Campaign. From tackling the grand challenges with our Clean-tech Action to securing the renewed commitment of European policy makers to EUREKA with the Inter-Parliamentary Resolution and Quarter Century Declaration – we have a lot to be proud of, and a lot to look forward to. We can help our economies and our societies through promoting innovation, by supporting businesses, and by providing the tools and developing the policies to make this happen.

Good luck to Hungary this chairmanship year!

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