Eurostars is a funding programme aimed mainly at small companies (SMEs) and follows a strict bottom-up approach. There are no given topics and any company can apply with hopes of turning an idea into a product, combining and sharing expertise with other partners or accelerating their growth. The high success rate is one of the big advantages Eurostars has over its alternatives. Of 414 submitted proposals for the Eurostars cut-off 8, which closed in September 2017, 102 proposals receive funding. Close to 25% of all submitted proposals were successful! There are two deadlines, so-called cut-off dates per year; one in spring and one in autumn. This is perfect for researchers who need some more time to work on their proposal or to look for partners. The previous cut-off date for R&D project applications was the 1st of March 2018 (cut-off 9), followed in autumn by cut-off 10 on the 13th September 2018. While it is too late to submit a proposal for cut-off 9, researchers who have just missed the deadline should start thinking about how to improve their proposal.
Eurostars for SMEs, academia and large companies
Eurostars is a great public funding scheme for companies, especially SMEs, who wish to develop new products or services with at least one cooperation partner, typically also a company, from another European country. Brought to life in 2014, Eurostars-2 has funded a total of 689 projects. The data for cut-off 8 shows that 74% of all participants were SMEs, followed up by universities and research institutes (20%) and large companies (6%). Projects in the areas life sciences/biotech (37), industrial (22) and ICT (20) have been dominant in all the previous cut-offs (and will likely continue to). Eurostars is a joint programme between the EUREKA members and the European Commission and as a member country, Swiss partners have been able to apply for funding without any hindrance. With 27 participants, Switzerland was level with the Netherlands behind Germany (31) in terms of total participants for cut-off 8.
How to write a Eurostars proposal
To write a successful Eurostars proposal you’ll need to describe your idea clearly, in full detail, convincingly and to the point. Even the best idea in the world will not be heard if you cannot manage to engage the evaluators and convince them with your proposal. Our recommendation is to start the proposal writing about two months before the cut-off date. In the best case scenario you will have your project partner(s) on board before you start the proposal writing process. From our experience we can also advise not to have a large consortium. Consortia consisting of 2-3 partners are easier to handle than large collaborations for two main reasons: 1) It`s generally less work to coordinate and to compile input from fewer partners and 2) even though your application might be positively evaluated and awarded a high score, the national funding agency of those countries in which your project partners are located might not have sufficient funds to finance the partner(s) in your highly ranked proposal. In that – not uncommon – case, you will “lose” your project partner and most likely the entire project. For that reason the successful sus@pension Eurostars proposal we recently supported only applied with a consortium consisting of two partners from two countries.
How accelopment can help your Eurostars proposal
accelopment has vast experience in writing European grant applications. This experience includes project proposals for the Eurostars programme, inclduing the awarded OPTO-BRAIN, MAXCOAT and most recently sus@pension. Once approved, we can support you in the contract negotiations and provide project management support.
Official Eurostars website, www.eurostars-eureka.eu
Eurostars 2018 cut-offs, www.eurostars-eureka.eu/content/eurostars-2018-cut-offs
Eurostars registration and submission, www.eurostars-eureka.eu/submission/about