The activities relating to the establishment of the EUROSTARS Joint Programme began after the adoption of the Resolution of the European Parliament (EP) of 10 March 2005 - Guidelines for future European Union policy to support research. The EP has encouraged Member States to adopt fiscal and other incentives to stimulate industrial innovation, including links with EUREKA, and stressed that the ERA would be possible only if a larger share of research funds is allocated by the Union with a view to closer coordination of European, national and regional research policies. In their desire for a coherent approach at European level in the field of SMEs engaged in R & D, several Member States, in order to act effectively, have taken the initiative within EUREKA to create a joint research and development programme called EUROSTARS Joint Programme.

The legal basis for this Programme is Article 169 of the Treaty establishing the European Community regulating the joint actions of Member States in support of research. The basic document regulating the activities of the EUROSTARS Joint Programme is Decision No 743/2008/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 9 July 2008 on Community’s participation in research and development programme undertaken by several Member States, aimed at supporting research and development performing small and medium-sized enterprises.

The purpose of this Programme is to support knowledge-intensive SME’s whose activities are built on technology/innovation basis. The target group of the Programme are entities, which are characterized by a pronounced focus on customers in the market seeking to achieve strong international position through the implementation of market-oriented projects with high added value.

The Programme supports small and medium-sized enterprises that will manage joint scientific and research and innovation projects in partnership with another SME/other SMEs or a big enterprise, or research institute (minimum of two participants from at least two countries - members of the Programme). Projects to be funded must be in favour of enterprises and the end product of the project must be two years away from the time of its introduction into production. EUROSTARS promotes joint international research and innovation projects by easing access to finance for enterprises for the purpose of developing new products, technologies and services.

The Programme receives public budget accounting to 400 million euro, of which 100 million euro of EC grants, the remainder coming from national budgets for a period of 6 years. These funds will mobilize another 400 million euro of financing from the private sector. Funding for participation in this Programme is implemented under the funding rules of the participating national programmes.

The Programme is administered by EUREKA’s Secretariat based in Brussels. The Secretariat will publish/announce invitations, receive applications for candidates, organize their evaluation by independent experts, manage the financial contributions and monitor projects.

As required by the European Commission, the National Innovation Fund is designated as the financial instrument that corresponds to the activities of the EUROSTARS Joint Programme and whose rules will apply to project financing. The Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises is referred to as partner organization to administer the activities of EUROSTARS;

The national coordinator for Bulgaria is:

Bogdana Vatashka – Head of Department "Project cycle", e-mail:

The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism shall allocate on an annual basis up to BGN 1 million from the budget of the National Innovation Fund to finance EUROSTARS projects.

On 14 September 2011 the 41st National Assembly adopted the Law on ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Secretariat of the EUREKA initiative (promulgated - SG. No 75 of 27 September 2011), triggering the application of Bulgarian companies for EUROSTARS funding.

Pursuant to Decision 306/2010 of the Council of Ministers, all costs associated with activities of the EUREKA initiative and with national funding of projects that have received EUREKA status, and projects participating in the Eurostars Joint Programme shall be borne by the budget of the National Innovation Fund under MEET.

The Rules for management of the National Innovation Fund have been amended to provide opportunity for Bulgarian companies and research institutes to apply and obtain funding under the EUROSTARS Joint Programme.

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