Eurostars programme, R&D funding for SMEs: Statistics and key figures

Eurostars is the largest international funding programme for SMEs with a focus on R&D projects that create innovative products, processes or services for commercialisation. In 2021, Eurostars entered into its 3rd phase -so-called Eurostars 3- and we have looked into the statistics and results of the first three calls. The data and conclusions are useful for potential new applicants.

What is Eurostars?

Eurostars is part of the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs (Eureka), which is co-funded by the European Union through Horizon Europe. Mostly composed by EU members, it however includes also countries outside Europe that have decided to join the Eureka network. 

To apply, the consortium must be led by an innovative SME from an EUREKA country. With a total budget worth €1B, roughly 29% applications receive funding, which makes it a competitive programme, yet worthwhile. The budget of the SMEs (excluding any subcontracting) must be 50% or more of the total project cost but no single participant or country should be responsible for more than 70% of the project’s budget.

Since 2014, Eurostars has invested 1.75B€ in innovation projects.

Results and analysis of the three previous calls can be summarized as follows:

Eurostars3: statistics and key figures

Information from the three different calls in Eurostars3 has been recently released. The present section aims to summarize and provide a comprehensible overview of these three calls from 2021- April 2023, including the main awarded countries, the main market areas, project duration and project costs of all the winners.

With a total EU contribution worth more than €360M, 258 projects have received funding in this period of time. The geographic focus of the awardees  spreads across 31 countries, most of them located in Switzerland (72 projects, 27.9%), the Netherlands (71 projects, 27.51%), Germany (61 projects, 23.64%), Denmark (43 projects, 16.6%), and Spain (43 projects, 16.6%). All grants include at least 2 participating countries.

Figure 1. Geographic focus of the winners

The following diagram shows the share of projects by project duration. The most typical duration is 24 months, with a total number of 91 projects (35.27%), followed by 36 months, with a total number of 85 projects (32.95%) and 30 months (36 projects, 13.95%).

Figure 2. Awarded projects by project duration

Regarding the technology area, most of the awarded projects belonged to the field of biological sciences (68 projects, 26.35%), followed by electronics IT & telecommunication (58 projects, 22.48%), and medicine human health (47 projects, 18.21%). Eurostars projects could be assigned to more than one technology area in the database.

Figure 3. Awarded projects by technology area

When looking at markets, the main areas are medical health related (96 projects, 37.20%), industrial products (36 projects, 13.95%), agriculture & environment (33 projects, 12.79%), energy (27 projects, 10.46%) and diagnostic (22 projects, 8.52%). Projects can be assigned to more than one market area in the database.

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