is a cluster of the EUREKA
network, an intergovernmental network set up back in 1985 to facilitate innovation and to provide a platform for international cooperation in research and development. The network supports market-oriented international research, development and innovation projects and facilitates access to finance for companies. Since it was set up, EUREKA has mobilised a substantial amount of public and private funding in support of research and development in a wide range of areas, and has launched innovative products, processes and services onto the market, creating additional turnover and jobs for European companies, both small and large.
There are EUREKA clusters for a range of technological sectors, including IT and communications, water management, and manufacturing. EUROGIA 2020 is EUREKA’s European-based industrial cluster that supports innovative, industry-driven, pre-competitive research and development (R&D) projects in the area of low-carbon energy technologies. The main objective of the cluster is to facilitate the deployment of existing technologies and support the development of highly innovative new technical solutions. To do this, it encourages cooperation and coordination among European companies. EUROGIA 2020 does not fund projects directly - funding is granted via EUREKA countries’ national programmes. A EUROGIA label, nevertheless, is a seal of quality that makes projects more attractive to public funding and venture capitalists. The EUROGIA label acts as a quality label for RD&D projects in the field of low-carbon energy technologies. The label is granted after a rigorous evaluation by a panel of world-class industrial and academic experts. It guarantees that the project is technically sound, innovative, well-planned and organised and is likely to lead to a commercial product or service that will positively impact the world energy system.
Helping ideas become reality
Although the label is very selective, the goal of EUROGIA 2020 is to help important project ideas become reality. This is helped by an interactive evaluation process - the Technical Committee and the EUROGIA 2020 office provide feedback to the projects to assist them in meeting the stringent criteria. However, despite the stringency of the evaluation, the label does not automatically guarantee public funding. The Eureka Member Countries have the final say on public funding in their territories, based on national policies, priorities and constraints. However, the label facilitates access to this funding, particularly in the 20 countries that support EUROGIA 2020,1
as these have made a commitment to view the national funding applications of labelled projects favourably. Successful funding is helped by the fact that representatives from the public authorities of supporting countries (E20PAC
) liaise closely with EUROGIA 2020 throughout the evaluation process. Growing recognition of the EUROGIA label also facilitates access to regional public funding and to private funding, from venture capital to bank loans, in addition to acting as a link to interested customers.
Labelled projects cover a wide range of technological sectors, from cogeneration, fuel cells and solar power to energy storage, biofuels and wind energy. Energy efficiency is the most labelled technology segment, with projects in the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom. An example of one such project is BCP-HE in the UK. The main objective of this project is to develop an innovative boiler circulating pump and heat exchanger system, with improved performance and efficiency and reduced costs, to support the next generation of Ultra Super Critical Coal Power Plants. In addition, the technology being investigated as part of this project will open the door to new opportunities with the power generation sector, including the oil and gas market and the renewable markets. Another labelled project, this time dealing with cogeneration, is the Biogaman project in Spain. The main objective of this project is the design, construction, operation and commercialisation of a technically and economically viable biogas plant for small agro-industries and farms. The project’s focus is on microCHP plants, with power below 50 kWe. The innovation of the project is based on the use of alternative technologies for these small plants. Small biogas plants are an interesting solution for areas where electricity supply and transportation are limiting factors for the development of agro-industrial SMEs.
Dates for future applications
The next cut-off date for EUROGIA 2020 applications is May 26, 2017. To be eligible, the projects’ participants must be organisations from a EUREKA Member Country
. The applying consortium, which should comprise at least two large, small or medium-sized industrial enterprises from two different EUREKA member countries, submits a project proposal to EUROGIA 2020 for technical evaluation. EUROGIA 2020 projects must clearly show technical innovation in the future product/process or service (either through using new devices or in the utilisation of existing devices in a new application). The project must have a strong market and exploitation orientation. The contribution from any one country must not exceed 66 % of the total budget. Likewise, the contribution from any one partner (affiliated organisations count as one partner) must also not exceed 66 % of the total budget.
Even when not made mandatory, the active participation of research institutes or universities is strongly encouraged. Although EUROGIA 2020 does not exclude any consortia that meet the criteria for the quality label, experience has shown that the right combination of large enterprises, SMEs and research institutes often enhances the benefits of collaborative projects. Large enterprises bring their knowledge of international business requirements, a world-wide market base for the commercialisation of products resulting from collaborative RD&D projects, and a critical mass to support project management and administration. On the other side, SMEs bring their highly focused know-how and capacity in developing enabling technologies, their local market knowledge, and the required flexibility in terms of available resources and competences.
EUROGIA 2020 also benefits from the activities of its parent organisation. One such activity is the Eurostars
programme, a joint programme dedicated to SMEs involved in R&D. The programme is co-funded from the national budgets of the 36 Eurostars countries
and by the European Union through Horizon 2020, with a total public budget of EUR 1.14 billion for 2014-2020. 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. There are hundreds of international projects led by R&D-performing SMEs from Eurostars participating states and partner countries. Thanks to the programme, organisations of all types from across the globe are receiving government and European Commission support to improve their performance and focus on world-class, market-oriented research and development.
1 Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Turkey and the UK in collaboration with other EUREKA Member Countries.