Eurostars supports international innovative projects led by research and development- performing small- and medium-sized enterprises (R&D-performing SMEs). With its bottom-up approach, Eurostars supports the development of rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services that help improve the daily lives of people around the world. Eurostars has been carefully developed to meet the specific needs of SMEs. It is an ideal first step in international cooperation, enabling small businesses to combine and share expertise and benefit from working beyond national borders.
The signing of the Eurostars-2 MOU between the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the EUREKA Secretariat (ESE) addresses the strategic objective: to access international knowledge, capacities and resources, in order to enhance South Africa’s national STI capabilities. Specifically it will assist the Department to attain the strategic target to increase the number of South African Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Small Medium Enterprises (SME) participation in business led European Union (EU) funding research programmes. The agreement will be implemented by the DSI with the involvement of key DSI entities.
The Eurostars-2 programme is aimed at promoting and supporting the participation of Research and Development (R&D) performing SMEs in transnational research with a strong focus in job creation, economic growth and competiveness. The programme contributes to the Horizon 2020 (H2020) goal of accelerating and the development of technologies and innovations that will underpin future businesses and strengthen EU innovative SMEs to world leading companies. It is jointly implemented by 34 Eurostars-2 participating states, partner countries and the EU. The list of Eurostars-2 members is attached at Tag B. Most of the Eurostars-2 partners are also members of the EUREKA network and Eurostars-2 calls are launched through the H2020 portal.
Eurostars-2 research projects are led by the business partner (R&D performing SMEs) with the goal of commercialising the research output, however large companies, universities and private individuals can also participate as partners. The programme supports projects with a maximum duration of three years, with the research output/results ready for commercialisation within 2 years of the project completion. As a member country, SA will also get an opportunity to also nominate up to five candidates to become experts for remote evaluations, and for the Independent Evaluation Panel (IEP) of projects submitted to Eurostars-2. Each participating country is obligated to commit to an annual budget towards its researchers participation in the Eurostars-2 programme.
The Eurostars-2 programme is organised on the basis of an open call and promotes research activities that comply with the following conditions:
- the activities are carried out by transnational collaboration of research- and development performing SMEs among themselves or including other actors of the innovation chain (e.g. universities, research organisations); and
- the results of activities are expected to be introduced into the market within two years of the completion of an activity.