You are here: About the OfficeInternational cooperationHorizon 2020 collaborationsSupporting innovative SMEs (EUROSTARS)
Support to innovative SMEs (EUROSTARS)
Support to innovative SMEs (EUROSTARS)
25 January 2018
Modified: 15 January 2019
Reading time: 6 minute(s)

What is EUROSTARS 2?

EUROSTARS 2 is the joint programme of EUREKA member states and the European Commission, dedicated to supporting SMEs engaged in R&D activities and having a substantial growth potential in the 2014–2020 period. It is the continuation of the highly successful EUROSTARS programme implemented in 2007–2013.

The programme is open to projects in any field of technology implemented in collaboration between at least two different independent institutions operating in a EUREKA member state (SMEs, large enterprises, higher education institutions, research centres or non-profit institutions) and resulting in an innovative product, procedure or service the market exploitation of which will start within two years from the completion of the project.

Participating countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom (associated members: Canada, South Africa, South Korea). EUREKA member states contribute to the programme budget with around EUR 861 million, and the European Commission co-finances the programme with EUR 287 billion.

Who is EUROSTARS for?

EUROSTARS primarily aims to provide easily accessible funding to businesses with significant growth potential which comply with the EU definition of an R&D-performing SME. This category includes SMEs (as defined by the EU, i.e. businesses which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million) which spend at least 10% of their annual turnover on R&D or dedicate at least 10% of their full-time employees to R&D activities.

Instead of the 10% criterion on employees, it is also acceptable if:

  • in the case of SMEs with a headcount of 100 employees of fewer, at least 5 full-time employees are dedicated to R&D activities; or
  • in the case of SMEs with a headcount of more than 100 employees, at least 10 full-time employees (FTEs) are dedicated to R&D activities.

The EUROSTARS project must be led by the R&D performing SME and must involve at least one institution (small and medium enterprise, large company, higher education institution or research institution) operating in another EUROSTARS member state. 50% of the total project costs must be covered by the R&D performing SME.

What are the benefits of EUROSTARS?

  • International consortium.
  • The applications are assessed by an international panel of independent experts.
  • Market-oriented projects.
  • Bottom-up approach – applications can be submitted in any field of technology.
  • Simple administration, easy-to-fill in application form.
  • Harmonised calls in all participating countries.
  • Project funding is ensured by the financial commitment of the participating countries: member states support their own national participants.
  • Quick evaluation process: funding decision in 14 weeks from submission.
  • EC financial contribution to the projects.

Terms of participation:

  • The project coordinator must be an R&D performing SME (see definition above).
  • In addition to the project coordinator the consortium must include at least one independent institution (SME, large company, higher education institution, research institution or non-profit institution) operating in another EUROSTARS member state.
  • All SMEs participating in the project must comply with the European Union’s definition of SMEs.
  • The R&D performing SME participants of the project must bear at least 50% of the R&D costs of the project (without subcontracting costs).
  • The partnership must be balanced within the consortium: no project partner or country may bear more than 75% of the total project costs.
  • The project must meet the basic EUREKA criteria: it should have a civil purpose, should result in a product, procedure or service, and should be implemented in cooperation between institutions from at least two EUREKA member states.
  • Maximum project duration is 3 years.
  • The project must result in a marketable product within two years of closing the project.
  • Project partners must be institutions with legal personality.
  • Project partners may not be subject to criminal proceedings.
  • Project partners may not be subject to liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings.

The application process

In the EUROSTARS programme applications are submitted, assessed and ranked at international level, but financing and contracting take place at national level.

The Guidelines for completing an application and the EUROSTARS Eligibility Guidelines are available at the central EUROSTARS website operated by the EUREKA-EUROSTARS Office, and the application forms can also be downloaded from here after registration. Applications are submitted electronically through the EUROSTARS website.

When preparing the application it is recommended to contact the EUROSTARS National Project coordinator who will perform the preliminary assessment of the project, provide advice on the application process, and provide information on the available national sources, funding intensity and the scope of eligible expenditure.

Applications can be submitted continuously, assessment sessions are held once or twice a year.

Submission deadline in 2019: 28 February 2019, 20:00 and 12 September 2019, 20:00 (CET).


Evaluation and funding decision

Applications are evaluated in two stages:

  1. Technical evaluation: the applications submitted to the EUREKA-EUROSTARS Office are evaluated by independent international experts.
  2. The Independent Evaluation Panel (IEP): the final ranking of applications is established by a six-member panel based on the results of the technical evaluation.

Main assessment criteria:

  1. basic assessment (project structure, partners and management, cost and funding structure, applied methodology, work plan);
  2. technology and innovation (technological risk, degree of innovation);
  3. marketability and competitiveness (market potential, business aspects).

The ranking of projects recommended for funding by the Independent Evaluation Panel is approved by the EUREKA High Level Group Representatives.

Evaluation results are announced by the EUROSTARS-EUREKA Office in Brussels 14 weeks after the submission of applications.

Financing, contracting

The projects recommended for funding by the Independent Evaluation Panel and approved by the EUREKA High Level Group Representatives delegated by the member states, are financed by the corresponding EUREKA member state in accordance with its national laws and available financial sources. In addition to the national resources, the European Commission also contributes to the implementation of the programme with up to 33% of the amount of national funding.

Hungary in the EUROSTARS programme

Hungary has participated in the cooperation since the start of the EUROSTARS 1 programme in 2008. Currently, 10 projects are running with Hungarian participation with an aggregate project budget of EUR 7,957,839, from which HUF 496,932,139 is provided by the NRDI Office.

Official EUROSTAT website:


National  Project Coordinator
National Research, Development and Innovation Office
Department of International Affairs
1077 Budapest, Kéthly Anna tér 1.
Phone: +36 1 896 3741

Updated: 15 January 2019
Was this page helpful?