Wednesday 22 June 2022 – Ministers and their representatives, hosted by Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Elvira Fortunato, gathered in Estoril for the Eureka XXVIII Ministerial Conference.

Together, they stressed the importance of Eureka in the global research, development and innovation landscape and recognised its unique role in supporting the development of ground-breaking innovations that are boosting world economies, creating jobs and have real positive societal impact.

Ministers and their representatives reaffirmed their commitment and national support to continue and further the development of Eureka.

Of particular note, Canada and South Korea became full members of Eureka. Chile was reassociated to the network.

The European Partnership on Innovative SMEs, the biggest SME-focused action in the European innovation ecosystems under the EU’s Horizon Europe, was launched by Minister Fortunato and Commission Research and Innovation Director-General Paquet.

Read the full Ministerial Conference communiqué here.

On Eureka’s 37th anniversary, representatives of its member country governments

  • applaud the support Eureka has so far provided to some 50,000 SMEs, large companies, universities and research organisations in more than 7,000 international research and development projects worth over 40 billion euro. Resulting innovations reflect the founding principles of Eureka: to boost national economies, create jobs and enhance societal wellbeing.
  • positively anticipate the official launch of the Partnership on Innovative SMEs within the European Union’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation to which 37 Eureka countries, industries and the European Commission will collectively invest some two billion euro for Eurostars and Innowwide open calls for projects, funding research, development and innovation, as well as market exploitation.
  • acknowledge Eureka as a unique platform for international collaboration between companies, research organisations and universities, and its role as an engine of innovation across Europe and the world.
  • highlight the long-lasting agreement from 1985 between 18 countries and the European Communities, represented by the European Commission, to foster competitiveness and market integration. Eureka is now present in nearly 50 countries within Europe and beyond, making it the world’s biggest public network for international cooperation promoting and funding research, development and innovation.
  • acknowledge that since Eureka’s last Ministerial Conference held in Madrid on 30 June 2017, Eureka has further strengthened its position as the global intergovernmental network to leverage public and private investment in research, development and innovation projects and formulated its strategy for the period 2021–2027 in the Strategic Roadmap, adopted by its High-Level Group in the Hague on 10 June 2020.
  • highlight that Eureka has, in 2021, integrated Singapore as the latest newly associated country and, today, Republic of Korea and Canada as full member countries.
  • recognise that Eureka has become the framework of reference for innovation stakeholders in Europe and beyond, supporting lasting employment and national economic growth.
  • recognise that Eureka, through its bottom-up approach, is supporting research, development and innovation that results in thousands of products, processes and services that are positively impacting society and economic growth.
  • recognise the performance of the Portuguese Eureka Chairmanship and agree to prolong its mandate by six months until 31 December 2022.

The representatives of the governments of the Eureka member countries, building on these achievements, stand committed to further develop Eureka as:

  • the world’s largest public network for research, development and innovation, playing a crucial role in addressing pressing issues ahead of us.
  • as a means towards strengthening our economies in the post-COVID-19 recovery.
  • as a means towards collaborating to tackle societal challenges and supporting our industries and society with green and digital transformation.
  • as a means towards implementing sustainable and future-proof products, processes and services in industries and society.
  • as a means towards providing an important platform for job creation.
  • a leading platform offering a path to sustainable growth and to high-quality employment, by promoting global collaboration between companies, research organisations and universities, and enhancing the availability of both public and private capital to support entrepreneurs performing research, development and innovation.
  • a strategic instrument to promote Europe as the world’s leading user of research results, capable of transferring those results effectively and efficiently into innovations that give rise to new products, processes and services.
  • an excellent vehicle to enhancing international cooperation.

Today, in the ministerial conference, representatives of Eureka member country governments:

  • opened Eureka to the world by amending the Regulatory Corpus, allowing non-European countries to be invited to become full members under certain conditions and after the required period of association.
  • recalled that Eureka has, in 2021, integrated Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina as full member countries, re-associated South Africa and welcomed Singapore as the latest associated country.
  • welcomed the Republic of Korea and Canada as full member countries, thereby strengthening Eureka’s international character and underlining the value of global collaboration beyond borders to address pressing issues ahead. Additionally, renewed Chile’s association to Eureka between 2022 and 2026.
  • reaffirmed Eureka’s principles and values of democracy, human rights and international law as essential to boosting national economies and enhancing societal wellbeing.
  • represented by Elvira Fortunato, Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, on behalf of Eureka, and Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General, Research, and Innovation, on behalf of the European Commission, signed a memorandum of understanding, aimed at reinforcing cooperation between the European Commission and Eureka member countries and underlining Eureka’s crucial role in the European Research Area and New Innovation Agenda and in strengthening European innovative ecosystems.
  • officially launched the Partnership on Innovative SMEs within Horizon Europe. In the coming years, 37 Eureka member countries, industry and the European Commission will collectively invest around two billion euro for Eurostars and Innowwide open calls for projects, funding research, development and innovation, as well as market exploitation.
  • welcomed the establishment of the new Eureka Clusters Programme, including a new governance structure supporting the five Eureka Clusters, strengthening innovation ecosystems, providing impact through collaboration beyond borders to promote coordination between industries and public authorities, and cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary projects. This has already enabled a joint Clusters call for projects on sustainability to be launched in 2022.

Looking ahead, representatives of Eureka member country governments agree to:

  • stress the importance and uniqueness of Eureka in the global research, development and innovation landscape and its key role in the European Union Research and Innovation ecosystems and welcome activities to implement Eureka in that role more formally. The best way to do so is to identify common interests, develop synergies and, where appropriate, streamline and coordinate programmes, initiatives and activities of its member countries and the European Commission, promoting the unique opportunities that Eureka programmes have to offer.
  • reaffirm their commitment and national support to Eureka and continue to enable and encourage national authorities to commit themselves to fully exploit Eureka’s potential.
  • encourage Eureka to expand its international collaboration, outreach and to attract new members who share a commitment to its fundamental values in research and innovation and in promoting rules-based multilateralism.
  • encourage strengthened support to the Eureka Clusters Programme, recognising the five Eureka Clusters’ flexible, bottom-up and industry-driven approach and their specific position within the overall research, development and innovation landscape, thus creating strong impact for all stakeholders.
  • welcome the possibility for further non-European countries to become Eureka full members to strengthen the international character of Eureka.
  • acknowledge the role of Eureka in promoting inclusiveness at all levels, which includes promoting diversity and the participation of underrepresented countries in research, development and innovation.
  • acknowledge the pivotal role of Eureka in science diplomacy and welcome the development of related activities.
  • encourage Eureka to continue to develop existing programmes, and instruments as well as new ideas which will further expand the excellence and impact of Eureka projects and activities, while maintaining Eureka’s unique SME orientation.
  • encourage strengthening synergies between Eureka and international organisations like the European Space Agency and the Atlantic International Research Centre to promote innovation technologies like space and ocean-space interactions - critical disciplines for developing new services and products towards sustainability.
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Posted 20 June 22