Cross border innovative collaboration has now become possible and easy for local business establishments with company registration in Singapore as the country joins 45 member countries across the globe as a member of the Eureka network. Local Singapore companies will benefit from multiple opportunities by collaborating with foreign partners on innovative value-added projects and grow.
Eureka was launched in 1985 as an Intergovernmental network to facilitate and support real-world market-based R&D projects propelled by innovative technologies from academic institutions, industries and research centres. There are more than 45 member states in Eureka presently including the European Union represented by European Commission, South Korea as a partner country and four associated states namely Singapore, Canada, Chile and South Africa. The other members are from different countries from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa representing almost all the major continents.
Singapore embraced the Eureka network concept, extending its support and officially joining this network of international cooperation in research and development as an associate country on Tuesday, May 18 2021.
Partner countries working as a consortium on an R&D project must focus either on a new product or a service or a new process with a maximum of 3 years duration. No individual country or organisation is allowed to claim more than 70% of the total cost of a project. For a Singapore local company, it must meet the eligibility criteria of Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) before applying.
The agreement was signed by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and Austrian minister for digital and economic affairs Dr Margarete Schrambock at the Global Innovation Summit 2021 convened virtually.
As per this agreement, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will support the facilitation and funding of joint innovation projects between entities from Singapore and other Eureka member countries and explore further partnerships within the network.
Singapore’s association with the Eureka network will enable local firms greater access to other markets by participating in joint innovation projects and by exploring various initiatives including
- Eurostars calls given twice a year for joint innovation projects between entities from 36 member countries.
- Eureka Clusters, Thematic calls announced by European industries under Eureka which are normally long term and strategically significant.
- Eureka Network Projects Programme, a flexible vehicle that allows Eureka member countries to build a country specific product, process or service theme as short term projects.
Before joining the network officially, ESG worked with Eureka on three co-innovation calls, through which more than 40 Singapore firms worked on joint innovation projects with overseas enterprises from more than 20 countries.
- The first Eureka Globalstars-Singapore call was introduced in 2019 and there were seven Eureka countries including Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the UK. This call received 36 joint applications along with 17 projects across the medtech and advanced manufacturing sectors chosen for funding.
- In 2020, the second Eureka Globalstars-Singapore call was even bigger and included 14 participating countries e.g. Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Estonia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK from the Eureka network besides Singapore. It received the highest joint applications to date among all the Eureka Globalstars calls, 84 numbers in total. More than 20 new projects across the transport and logistics, medtech and space tech sectors were selected for granting funds.
- Singapore was among the 16 countries that participated in the first Eureka Clusters Artificial Intelligence (AI) Call last year. Two projects involving Singapore companies were funded.
EverComm, an energy start-up, was one of the firms that received funding from the second Eureka Globalstars-Singapore call last year with the partnership of British tech firm Ionate to develop a platform for equipment performance optimization and now looking for opportunities in Taiwan and Thailand as well.
Artificial intelligence cluster call in 2020 also witnessed two projects involving local firms getting selected for grants.
Enterprise Singapore’s director of global innovation network Jonathan Lim commented, “Even amid the challenging conditions of a Covid-19 environment, Singapore companies actively participated in these co-innovation calls. This shows their keen interest to engage in research and innovation to develop stronger offerings, as well as their desire to capture new overseas opportunities. We are excited to become an Associate Country of the Eureka network as this provides the opportunity for Singapore companies to participate in all Eureka initiatives and tap into the know-how of entities from over 45 countries. We also welcome Eureka member countries to work with us, and leverage Singapore as a launchpad to access the growth opportunities in Southeast Asia.”
Earlier, Singapore local companies had to partner with a minimum of two other entities represented by two Eureka member countries as an Associate member. However, Singapore companies can participate on a one to one basis.
To benefit from the enormous opportunities presented to the investors by Singapore, it is advised that foreign investors seek support from a professional and credible local firm and find out how to start a business in Singapore as a foreigner and comply with ESG and EDG eligibility requirements.