Press release

UK to lead international hunt for life-changing innovations

Science Minister Sam Gyimah launches UK chairmanship of international innovation network ‘EUREKA’, which will expand its global reach.

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  • British businesses and innovators to get £10 million boost to bring their ideas to global market
  • calls for Britain to ‘double down’ on innovation to make our way in the world after leaving the European Union

Science Minister Sam Gyimah last night launched the UK chairmanship of the international innovation network EUREKA, addressing the global challenge to hunt for world-changing products and services needing support to reach the market.

He attended the event celebrating the UK taking on the chairmanship of EUREKA - a global network which has invested nearly £35 billion in projects in 40 countries worldwide- for the third time. EUREKA, brings together more than 40 nations to collaborate on research and development and supports the ambitions of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

During the one-year chairmanship, the UK aims to expand the global reach of EUREKA and will invest an extra £10 million to support UK businesses and innovators bring new products to market.

Speaking at the launch Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:

Here in the UK, as we prepare for leaving the European Union, we face an important question: how will we as a country make our way in the world? What sort of country do we choose to be? My answer to this is clear: we will only thrive if we embrace ideas and openness, and double down on an innovative economy. Our Industrial Strategy will be key to this.

And we are backing this engagement with investment. Already, we have announced the biggest increase in public R&D investment for over 40 years, including the establishment of a £4.7 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to back business-focused research. And we are going further. As part of our industrial strategy, we have set out our ambition to increase the UK’s R&D spend to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

EUREKA is a platform to support those partnerships in research and innovation, enabling businesses to collaborate across borders, accessing new knowledge, capabilities and markets. Today, I am delighted to announce that the UK will inject an additional £10 million for UK companies to collaborate with global businesses on innovation projects through the EUREKA platform, helping to create new products and services and drive business growth.

It is with great pride that I launch the UK’s EUREKA chairmanship, beginning on 1 July, here among so many partners from around the world. I look forward to seeing all you achieve in the coming year.

Since its creation in 1985, EUREKA has supported a range of companies and organisations.

Developing a simple, effective and highly accurate blood test to detect transplant diseases has been led through a UK and Belgium EUREKA project. Its impact has reduced transplant costs by better targeting resources and is helping to improve patient’s recovery from transplants.

Cambridge based Intelligent Fingerprinting received a boost through a EUREKA project, led by the UK, Norway and France, that focused on speeding up police investigations by using new computing techniques to help scan seized storage devices. The programme has been used by major law enforcement agencies around the world.

During the event, it was also confirmed that an additional £10 million of funding is being provided to UK EUREKA participants that will open up global R&D and innovation collaboration opportunities for UK companies to help drive growth. This will help to create new products and services by providing access to specialist knowledge, people and capability supporting UK companies to take advantage of global market opportunities.

Key facts:

  • EUREKA has been in existence for over thirty years
  • involves 45 countries
  • supports nearly 7,000 projects
  • has worked with over 17,000 companies
  • nearly £35 billion already invested

EUREKA is a unique network which brings together the largest grouping of national ministries and innovation agencies, including UKRI, to support global business-focussed research and development. It aims to help businesses grow and encourages greater collaboration across borders.

Since EUREKA was founded in 1985, businesses involved have shown an additional annual turnover growth of 15% better than non-participants one year after the project finishing and companies in EUREKA showed an additional annual employment growth of 7% compared to non-participating firms.

Notes to editors:

  • EUREKA is supported by a Secretariat based in Brussels, who are a non-profit organisation
  • the current UK budget for EUREKA programmes is €4.5 million annually
  • further information available
Published 8 June 2018