Understanding Eurostars: A Brief Overview

To understand the grant, it is crucial to recognize its role in supporting innovative SMEs leading international innovation projects. Eurostars emphasizes the importance of global markets and encourages the development of new applications of available knowledge. By providing public funding, Eurostars projects aim to create innovative new products, applications, and markets. The maximum funding amount for projects varies according to the rules set by the participating national funding bodies (e.g., DLR in Germany). As Eurostars is within the broader Horizon Europe (2021-2027) framework programme, the National Contact Points (NCPs) will be the most relevant liaison of applicants to the national funding bodies. It is also to the NCPs that the main applicant first presents the project idea to get a preliminary assessment of the fit for Eurostars. In addition to conceptualizing an innovative R&D project, Eurostars requires an understanding of the financial and human resources required to execute the project. nxt milestone is well-versed in financial planning, including within the various Horizon Europe programmes, and can therefore advise you on budget building for your Eurostars application. Additionally, Eurostars ensures the financial viability of projects through a transparent evaluation of financial reports.

What is the Eurostars Grant?

The Eurostars grant is a R&D funding opportunity for innovative SMEs participating in the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs. Within Eurostars, the definition of an “innovative SME” refers to any SME with the ambition to engage in R&D activities. The grant supports SMEs leading international innovation projects by providing public funding. The projects funded through Eurostars aim to create innovative new products, applications, and thereby disrupt/transform markets, driving economic growth and competitiveness within Eurostars countries (e.g., EU Member States, Horizon Europe Associated Countries, and additional Eurostars countries such as Chile or South Africa). The grant also ensures the financial viability of projects through transparent evaluation processes.

Who is it for?

In general, Eurostars is a funding programme for startups, SMEs, research organizations and universities, and large companies. This may, however, vary at country-level; i.e., with different funding rates, grant amounts, and specific rules for participation. At nxt milestone, we therefore highly recommend a pre-screening of your project idea and country composition of the consortium prior to initiating your application. A subsequent, mandatory step, is the presentation of your project idea (and initial consortium) to your NCP. The NCP will then express a recommendation, depending on the project’s fit for the programme.

Countries Participating

All EU Member States and Horizon Europe Associated Countries such as non-EU Member States (e.g., Serbia), and countries beyond European borders (e.g., Israel) are eligible for Eurostars. The same applies for Eurostars-specific countries, such as Canada, Chile or South Korea (full list above). The consortium needs to be comprised of at least 2 independent entities from 2 different Eurostars countries. The project duration is typically 24-36 months, ensuring that potential users benefit from the results. Each country has its unique types of organizations, such as research organizations and SMEs, that contribute to the international cuisine of project ideas. To apply, interested parties can access the online application form to reach out to their NCP, before undergoing evaluation by an independent evaluation panel.

Special Provisions for Specific Countries

Eurostars countries have their own specific funding rates. These can have a maximum grant amount, a varying funding rate depending on the type of organization, or even specific criteria, such as funding activities only up to a certain TRL only. We recommend engaging with nxt milestone to receive a comprehensive overview of your consortium’s financial possibilities within the programme.

Decoding Eurostars' Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the eligibility criteria is essential for a successful application. At country-level, particularly on the financial aspects, criteria and rules can vary. However, there are 7 basic eligibility criteria for Eurostars that each project has to pass:

  • The consortium is coordinated by an innovative SME from a Eurostars country.

  • The consortium is composed of at least 2 independent entities from at least 2 Eurostars countries.

  • The budget of the SMEs from the participating countries (excl. subcontracting) is 50% of more of the total project budget.

  • No single participant or country has more than 70% of the total budget of the project.

  • The project duration is 36 months or less.

  • The project has an exclusive focus on civil applications (not military).

At nxt milestone, we can leverage our international project experience to pre-assess your project and guide you through the elements required for a strong Eurostars application.

Criteria for SMEs and Research Institutions

In order to qualify for the grant, SMEs are required to adhere to specific eligibility criteria. These include meeting the maximum funding amount based on the rules of the national funding body. Moreover, the projects undertaken by SMEs should focus on creating new products, applications, and innovative markets that align which are of the European partnership. It's essential for SMEs to take a leading role in driving cross-border collaborations and innovation within the projects. Additionally, the financial viability check ensures transparency and compliance with the funding bodies' criteria in the financial reports. The systematic work and activities of the project, along with the Gantt chart, are outlined in the technical annex, as well as the required SME declaration form. Research institutions seeking Eurostars grant funding must comply with the eligibility criteria set by national funding bodies, ensuring a transparent evaluation process for project applications. The projects are expected to generate new applications based on existing knowledge, products, and markets, with active involvement from research organizations. Maximum funding amounts are subject to the rules of the respective national funding bodies, guaranteeing financial feasibility. Additionally, these projects are aimed at creating innovative products, applications, and markets that align with the objectives of the European partnership. The technical annex should delineate the project's systematic work, activities, and Gantt chart to facilitate the transparent evaluation of applications.

You can read the exact criteria for your application country here.

Funding Information

Eurostars grant provides funding for international collaborative projects in R&D. The project consortium should involve at least two participants from different countries, and the minimum project duration is 24 months. Potential users include various types of organizations such as SMEs and research organizations. Funding application is done through an online application form, with a submission deadline of early september 2024. This is followed by independent evaluation by a panel, with results communicated by Eurostars within five to seven months after the submission deadline. Successful applicants receive grants through Horizon Europe.

Amount and Duration

With a maximum funding amount of € 500.000 per innovative project, they provide ample resources for strategic initiatives. The project duration of up to 36 months allows for systematic and thorough research and development activities. Funding rates are contingent upon the national funding bodies of participating countries, with no single participant or country responsible for more than 70% of the budget. Eligibility criteria necessitate a declaration as a SME and a thorough financial viability check. To ensure fair distribution, Eurostars employs an independent evaluation panel for transparent assessments. This approach ensures that the best applicants receive the necessary support for their projects.

Conditions and Regulations

Supporting innovative SMEs within the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs, Eurostars facilitates shared project costs among participating countries. The European Union's public funding covers the total project cost, encompassing international partners and various types of organizations. It offers funding for different types of projects, including innovation project applications and leading role projects. Additionally, the funding rules comply with relevant national and regional funding bodies' regulations, making it crucial for research organizations to understand the funding conditions and regulations before applying. This aligns with the professional and informative tone required for the content.

Making a Successful Eurostars Application

Understanding the guidelines is crucial for a successful application. The project consortium's composition, potential users of the product or service, and the project duration are essential considerations. Furthermore, familiarizing with the independent evaluation panel, online application form, and the Horizon Europe program can provide a competitive edge. Additionally, understanding the types of organizations eligible for the grant and the specific funding conditions set by the scheme is vital.

How can a company apply for funding from Eurostars?

To apply for funding from Eurostars, a company must form a consortium with at least one other organizations from a different Eurostar member country. They must then submit a project proposal that meets Eurostars' eligibility criteria and aligns with their innovation focus areas.

Required Documentation

To ensure a successful grant application under the program, it's crucial to prepare the required documentation meticulously. This includes a well-crafted project proposal that outlines clear objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. Additionally, a realistic budget plan with justified expenses is essential. Moreover, understanding and executing the consortium agreement effectively for seamless collaboration among partners are vital for a strong application. These documentation requirements play a pivotal role in securing funding and support from the independent evaluation panel.

Application Process Steps

Before embarking on the application process, thorough research must be conducted on the Eurostars program, eligibility criteria, and application requirements. It's crucial to identify and collaborate with a suitable partner for the project. The development of a strong project proposal that aligns with Eurostars' objectives and meets the application requirements is essential. Additionally, a realistic budget and timeline reflecting the project's goals and resources must be developed. Lastly, submitting the application before the deadline and following up with Eurostars for updates on the status of the application is imperative. To maximize your chances of a successful Eurostars application, thoroughly read the guidelines and criteria. Ensure your project aligns with program objectives, collaborate with partners who complement your skills, and provide concise information about your project's innovation, market potential, and impact. Nxt milestone can support you throughout the entire application process, including post-award administration of the project.

Evaluation and Results: What Happens Next?

After you have submitted your Eurostars application, it goes through an evaluation process. A panel of experts will assess your proposal based on various criteria such as innovation, market potential, and technical feasibility. The evaluation process can take up to 5 months.

Once the evaluation is complete, you will receive the results. If your application is successful, you will be notified about the funding amount and duration. You will also receive detailed feedback on your proposal, which can be valuable for future applications. The consortium will then sign a Grant Agreement, formalizing their project engagement.

Key components of a winning Eurostars application include an aligned project idea, a strong consortium with collaborative expertise, a well-defined work plan, and a persuasive business plan showcasing commercial potential.

If your application is not successful, don't be discouraged. You can reapply in the next Eurostars call for proposals after addressing the feedback provided by the evaluators. Remember, Eurostars aims to support innovative projects, and even if you are not successful this time, it doesn't mean your idea lacks potential. Also, Eurostars might not be the only funding programme fit for your project idea. Are you aware of the EIC Pathfinder, EIC Accelerator and other grants? Reach out to nxt milestone for a thorough grant scan!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a company increase their chances of being selected for Eurostars funding?

To increase your chances of being selected for Eurostars funding, clearly define how your project aligns with Eurostars' goals and solves a specific problem. Build a strong consortium with reliable partners and complementary expertise. Develop a clear plan, budget, and timeline for project completion. Highlight the potential societal and economic impact of your project.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when applying for Eurostars funding?

Common mistakes to avoid when applying for Eurostars funding include failing to meet the eligibility criteria, not providing a clear project description or budget breakdown, and neglecting to demonstrate the potential impact and marketability of the project. Carefully reviewing and following all instructions and requirements is crucial to avoid these mistakes.

What are some examples of successful Eurostars projects?

Some Eurostars projects that achieved success include "EcoFLEXOBAG" which developed sustainable packaging solutions, "InBrain" which created non-invasive brain stimulation devices, and "SmartBreed" which improved animal breeding using smart technology. Another project, "ActiVite," developed a wearable device to monitor physical activity in the elderly. These projects stood out due to their innovative ideas, feasibility, and potential societal impact.


In conclusion, successfully applying for Eurostars funding requires a thorough understanding of the program and its eligibility criteria. It is crucial to gather all the necessary documentation and follow the application process steps diligently. The evaluation process plays a significant role in determining the outcome, so it's essential to be prepared for that. To improve your chances of success, focus on presenting a strong project proposal and highlighting the key components that make it innovative, feasible, and impactful. Learning from examples of successful Eurostars projects can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own application. Remember to avoid common mistakes and seek professional guidance if needed. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of securing Eurostars funding for your innovative project.

General information on Eurostars can be found here.