07 Jun 2024

Focus on Eurostars

Paula Smith
Grant Consultant

Eurostars is the largest international funding programme specifically designed for SMEs and is co-funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. It is designed to encourage international collaboration on R&D projects toward the creation of innovative products, processes, and services, with a focus on commercialisation. Only collaborative projects are eligible with an overall goal to fund R&D focused on industrial research. Once successfully evaluated by the Eurostars committee, the project is sent to the respective local funding agencies for checks and administration.  

For UK based SME’s, Innovate UK makes up to £2.5 million available each year for collaborative research projects with other organisations from participating Eureka Eurostar member countries. UK applicants can apply for 60% of total eligible project costs up to €360,000.  


The benefits of receiving funding are clear, with companies reporting an average annual turnover increase of 15%, 68% state they achieve an improved market share and 69% state they have been able to enter new markets.  

As well as the quantifiable benefits, the R&D partnerships are transformative in making long term relationships and increased visibility in their specialist field.   

Despite being a competitive process, the likely receipt of benefit is high, with 29% of applicants receiving funding. 


  • Minimum of 2 partners from 2 of the 37 participating countries with at least 1 from an EU member state 
  • No single participant is responsible for > 70% of the project budget. 
  • The majority of project costs (>50% minus subcontracting costs) must be to SME’s, but other entities i.e. large business, universities and RTO’s can also join the consortium 
  •  36 months in length or less 
  • Any technology area but must address market needs and have commercialisation potential  
  • Exclusive focus on civilian application  
  • No fixed TRL range within Eurostars but national bodies may have set criteria – some suggest between 4-6 where others between 5-8.  

Key Eurostar’s Statistics and Figures  

Eurostars2 had a total public budget of €1.14 billion during its period of existence between 2014-2020. Data from three calls in Eurostars3 between April 2021- April 2023 shows:  

  • 258 projects were funded, with an EU contribution of more than €360M 
  • Awardees were spread across 31 countries, with 31 projects having a UK participant.  
  • Most projects were 2 years (>35%) or 3 years (32.95%)  
  • The three most popular funded project topics were  
  1. Biological sciences  
  2. Electronics IT and telecommunications  
  3. Medicines/Human health  

 Application Process  

The online application form consists of 5 main parts: Project details, Application questions, Your organisation, Declarations, and Work Packages. 

  • Project details: application team setup and a main overview of the project explaining what, why and how you want to do it. You can also exclude entities or people from the evaluation of your application. 
  • Application questions: The main application part consists of three sections, the Impact, Excellence, and Quality and Efficiency, for which you need to answer a set of specific questions each. Each section is awarded a mark out of 6 with a score of 18 available.  
  • Your organisation: This section must be completed for each participant individually, to show what each partner will contributes to the project but also how they benefit from it. The financial information given here will not be visible to other project partners.  
  • Declarations: Before submission, the legal representative of the organisation needs to sign the Commitment and Signature form. SMEs must also complete the declaration form to confirm their SME status. 
  • Work Packages: Details on your project’s work packages and tasks are given in this last part of the application with the possibility to include a Gantt chart, and technical appendix to include supporting diagrams and figures.  


  • Eligibility check (within 1 week)  
  • Expert evaluation (results within 7 weeks) Assessors will mark the applications and provide scores, justifications and commentary. Experts mark against three criteria – Quality and Efficiency of Implementation,  Impact and Excellence  
  • Legal and Financial Viability (in parallel to scoring) Checks to ensure organisation is a going concern, has available funds and resource to fulfil their project obligations.  
  • Ranking (within 13 weeks): Projects are ranked and grouped according to their quality. The top group will automatically be funded with the second highest group being funded at the discretion of national bodies and their remaining budgets.  
  • Ethics Review (in parallel to ranking): experts produce an ethics report for each application with an aim to assist beneficiaries in addressing the ethics issues raised by their project and, if needed, to take preventive or corrective measures. 
  • Offer made applicants have six weeks to return a signed consortium agreement and set up the project.  


Using our expertise in grant funding and R&D projects, TBAT can assist with your Eurostars funding journey, working with you and your project partners to create a high-quality application, helping fund your next innovation.  

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