EUREKA Initiative
 

In 1985, EUREKA was launched as a European initiative to create a network serving cross-border cooperation between research institutes, universities, manufacturing companies and financial institutions. It supports the competitiveness of European companies through the development of international cooperation leading to the establishment of contacts and networking for innovation. Its aim is to achieve the marketing results of high quality R & D and use the multiplier effect of working together to improve quality of life.

The main document of EUREKA is the Hanover Declaration.

The declaration sets out the objectives of the initiative, project priorities and criteria, general conditions, project implementation, coordination and links between EUREKA, EU and the other forms of European cooperation.

EUREKA is an organizational and managerial framework, a system of mechanisms, which offers services to find a partner and disseminate information, as well as other services, to industrial enterprises, scientific and research institutes and universities for cooperation in the field of applied technology research. The award of the EUREKA project status is a trademark of quality in Europe, research guarantee and security for market success. One of the great merits of the initiative is that the trademark attracts venture capital for experimentation of new technologies in real production and market situation.

For EUREKA projects, each member country provides financing for its research under a joint project. Functioning of the Secretariat in Brussels is covered by contributions of members whose size is proportional to the gross domestic product of the country.

By Decision No 306 of the Council of Ministers of 14 May 2010 the Government approved the membership of Bulgaria in the EUREKA initiative and the country's accession to the Memorandum of Understanding of the Secretariat of EUREKA with the members of the initiative, subject to subsequent ratification. Point 4 of the Memorandum entrusted the signing of the Declaration to the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism.

Bulgaria’s accession to the EUREKA initiative enables Bulgarian SMEs and research institutes to participate in the EUROSTARS Joint Programme.

In early 2011 the National Assembly adopted the Law on Ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding of the Secretariat of EUREKA with the members of the initiative (promulgated, SG. No 8 of 25 January 2011). By this act the steps to full membership of Bulgaria in EUREKA were finalized.

According to Decision No 306/2010 of the Council of Ministers all costs associated with the activities of the initiative shall be borne by the budget of the National Innovation Fund under MEET.

At present 39 countries are full members of EUREKA. In addition to the EU Member States, members of EUREKA are Switzerland, Russia, FYR Macedonia, Israel, Ukraine, Turkey, etc.

Management and coordination of EUREKA are as follows:

1. The EUREKA Chair rotates yearly among EUREKA’s member countries, with a mandate running from July to June the following year. Change of Presidency takes place at the Ministerial Conference, which is traditionally held in June. Presently the Presidency is held by Hungary.

2. High Level Group (HLG) is the key decision-making body of EUREKA. Each EU Member State and the European Commission shall assign a senior official to participate in the meetings of the HLG.

3. National Project Coordinators (NPCs) provide the link between projects and central coordination bodies of EUREKA.

The National Coordinator for Bulgaria is:

Bogdana Vatashka - Head of Department Project cycle, e-mail: b.vatashka@sme.government.bg

4. EUREKA Secretariat (ESE) is based in Brussels. It coordinates the activities and is responsible for promoting the development of the initiative.

Participation in EUREKA projects provides access to:

  • New knowledge related to scientific and technical development, markets and new suppliers;
  • Networks - providing and disseminating information about areas of activity of businesses, building preferential relationships between consumers and suppliers, improving the image;
  • Opportunities for funds and services;

Furthermore, EUREKA projects allow for:

  • Recognition of exceptional quality - "Quality Mark", which in turn contributes to the commercial success of the product, process or service developed in EUREKA projects;
  • Pooling of resources, sharing ideas and risk;
  • Improving science-industry linkages and accelerating transfer of technology to the market;
  • Door to joint projects with industrially developed enterprises with long traditions;
  • Improvement of business contacts between companies;
  • Access to new contacts and new markets both for technologies developed by research institutions and businesses;
  • Utilization of the mechanisms of management of large international projects and acquisition of international experience;
  • Conducting brokerage activities through a network of national offices.

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