Making History: EUREKA 30 Years!

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EUREKA is an intergovernmental organisation focused on mobilising funds and fostering collaboration for the benefit of near-market projects across all fields of civilian technology. Over the last three decades, it has been responsible for bringing together SMEs, large companies, research institutes and universities to advance the state of technology in Europe for economic benefit. More than 40 countries now hold EUREKA membership, and a number of nations outside of the continent – South Korea, Canada and South Africa – are also included as associate countries.

The political and technological context that gave rise to the creation of EUREKA in 1985 was complex. Preceding decades had seen a number of failed or modestly successful intergovernmental R&D collaborations between European countries, and in the face of intense competition from the US and Japan, the need for the nations of the continent to work together effectively became abundantly clear.

Since then, the history of EUREKA has been closely intertwined with the history of Europe – and landmarks such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the global economic downturn have shaped the course of both. EUREKA’s adaptation to changing conditions within the countries that it serves has been the driving force behind its more recent innovations: Clusters, the large strategic initiatives it uses to tackle vital technological areas; Umbrellas, thematic networks that help to generate EUREKA projects and collaborations; and Eurostars, an instrument designed specifically to support those drivers of innovation – research-performing SMEs.

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