The UK was honoured to take on the Chairmanship of Eureka this year for the third time. While much has changed since Eureka was established over thirty years ago, its mission is as relevant today as it was then, if not even more so. The need for businesses of all sizes to collaborate beyond national borders and to operate globally is now even more vital to their future success.
Eureka is unique as the world’s largest network for international cooperation in R&D and innovation. The UK Chair focused on ensuring that Eureka remains in this leading role. Work focussed on collaborating across the network and the Eureka Association on increasing the global reach of Eureka; raising its profile as a leading and valued network for global R&D and innovation collaboration and ensuring the way it operates is agile and responsive to the needs of its users and funders.
It has been a very active year. The Eureka Global Strategy and Implementation Plan was approved in London putting in place a greater focus on expanding the reach of Eureka. The year included progressing relationships with India, Japan, Australia and Singapore, the latter resulting in the first involvement of Singapore in Eureka, with a GlobalStars call launched. The association of Argentina was finalised in London concluding a 10 year journey for Argentina to become members. Progress was made on the GlobalStars guidelines and the Eureka Project of the Year Award was presented. What was clear through discussions with non-member countries was that Eureka was difficult to understand and so the ‘Learn more about Eureka’ document was produced setting out the benefits of Eureka and how countries could more easily engage.
The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the Eureka Global Innovation Summit in Manchester in May which brought together over 1800 people from over 60 countries.
In London, the Eureka Communications Strategy was approved making a big step forward in having a strategy for delivering communications activity in the future with clear and consistent messaging. Work was undertaken to better understand the issues preventing countries from engaging in Eureka, and to consider how European Structural Funds could be more easily used to support Eureka projects. Practical Guides were produced to encourage country engagement and use of Structural Funds.
Under Agile Eureka, agreement was reached around the Eurostars-3 vision and application, which was subsequently submitted to the European Commission. The Eureka-Commission Joint Conclusions on enhancing European Innovation Ecosystems was also developed and approved. Work was undertaken to look at the Eureka instruments and how they work individually and collectively, as well as the types of businesses they are best focused on and the customer journey for those businesses. A significant piece of work was on looking at the future of Clusters including agreeing a SWOT analysis and a draft vision for the future of Eureka Clusters. A detailed review of Eureka governance was undertaken which identified many areas where the governance of Eureka could be simplified and streamlined.