Eureka − A major tool to promote research and innovation

Interview with Eureka chairman Miguel Bello Mora

On 1st July, Portugal took over the Eureka chairmanship for one year – already for the third time in the 35-year history of Eureka. The motto of the Portuguese Chairmanship is “Innovation for a greener, digital and healthier planet through a collaborative approach”. CELTIC News editor Milon Gupta asked Eureka chairman Miguel Bello Mora, CEO of the Atlantic International Research Centre in Portugal, about priorities and progress of Eureka after the first quarter of the Portuguese Eureka term.

What are the main priorities of the ­Portuguese Eureka chairmanship?

Miguel Bello Mora: We have five main priorities for the Portuguese Eureka chairmanship:

First, to increase the global outreach of the Eureka Network by promoting collaboration with international organizations with an important innovation component, like the European Space Agency, and via the organization of a series of international events.

Second, to enhance new forms of cooperation for effective RDI programmes by strengthening the relation with the European Union within the new Horizon Europe framework programme for research, development, and innovation.

Third, strengthening the Eureka Network’s positioning by reinforcing the mechanisms for the generation of projects, contributing to the revitalization of the ­Eureka Clusters Programme.

Fourth, adding value to the Eureka label, with the organisation of Eureka’s Global ­Innovation Summit 2022 and the Eureka Ministerial Meeting in Portugal in June 2022.

And fifth, to continue the necessary restructuring of the Eureka Secretariat and pursue a healthy financial model for the ­Eureka Secretariat.

Which role do you see for the Eureka Clusters Programme in the context of the Portuguese priorities?

Miguel Bello Mora: The Portuguese chairmanship is contributing to the revitalization of the Eureka Clusters Programme by implementing the new governance model, ensuring greater compromise from public authorities on the funding of projects, intensifying the participation of industrial key players at the board of Clusters’ governance structures and promoting collaboration and cross-fertilisation between Clusters through the organisation of joint calls.

A joint thematic call is promoted with a topic focused on Space-Ocean-Earth Observation Systems and Space related technologies which would include the promotion of projects linked with the Green Deal in areas like Earth Observation from Space and its combination with Artificial Intelligence.

How would you describe the progress of Eureka in the first months of the Portuguese chairmanship?

Miguel Bello Mora: During the first months of the Eureka Portuguese chairmanship some of the strategic priorities have been implemented, like the collaboration with the European Space Agency, where a Memorandum of Understanding is in preparation, and the first of the international events on “Eureka meets the Atlantic through Space-Ocean-Earth collaborative innovations”. In addition, the final proposal for the Eurostars 3 programme, one of the flagship projects of Eureka, has been completed in August.

What is your vision for Eureka and its programmes beyond the Portuguese chairmanship?

Miguel Bello Mora: Our vision beyond the ­Portuguese Chairmanship is to have Eureka as a major tool to promote research and innovation, strengthening the bottom-up, open and flexible nature of the network by building on the work done by the previous Chairmanships while following the strategic priorities of the recently approved Eureka Strategic Roadmap for 2021-2027.

Eureka shall promote the dynamism of the economy and European innovation through the recovery period from the crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and should stimulate new opportunities for the development of new products and services in global markets, as well as new international collaborations towards citizens wellbeing and healthy living.