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The German EUREKA chairmanship year

In June, Germany took over the EUREKA chairmanship from Portugal and is now chairing the network for the third time after 1985 and 1999/2000. To launch the German EUREKA Chairmanship 2009/2010, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, welcomed some 300 representatives of government, industry, academia and trade associations at the ‘World-Class Innovation through International Cooperation’ conference in Dresden, Germany, this month.

EUREKA is a pan-European network for market-oriented industrial research and development (R&D). Created in 1985 at the initiative of Germany and France, its goal is to enhance European competitiveness by supporting businesses, research centres and universities, involved in pan-European projects, in developing innovative products and services. Today, 37 European states as well as Israel and the European Commission participate in this R&D network. The EUREKA chairmanship is held for one year by one of the member countries, by rotation.

This year, the German chairmanship has decided to concentrate particularly on enhancing support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as a driver of innovation and the backbone of the economy.