How Portugal supports CELTIC-NEXT projects

The Portuguese National Innovation Agency

Rita Silva
ANI – Agência Nacional de Inovação, SA

ANI – Agência Nacional de Inovação, SA, is the National Innovation Agency of Portugal. It is owned in equal shares by IAPMEI – the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation under the Ministry of the Economy and Digital Transition – and FCT – the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education. ANI supports technological and business innovation in Portugal, contributing to the consolidation of the national innovation system and to strengthening the competitiveness of the national economy in global markets.

In 2020, Portugal reached a 1,6% R&D share of national GDP, an all-time high. 57% of R&D funding comes from companies’ investments. There are around 4,300 R&D-performing companies investing an average of 420,000 euro per year to develop new technologies.

Portugal’s innovation strategy

Along this path, an ambitious national strategy for technological and entrepreneurial innovation for the period 2018-2030 has been defined. It includes main targets such as achieving a global investment in R&D of 3% of GDP by 2030, with a relative share of two thirds coming from private expenditure, as well as becoming a European leader in digital skills by 2030. From 2021 to 2027, Portugal aims to double the Portuguese participation in European Union funding programmes, and to attract around 2 billion euros for R&I, as well as tripling the number of students in mobility in higher education, compared to 2014-2020.

ANI has a central role in the Portuguese innovation ecosystem and contributes to the achievement of the major national innovation goals. The Agency manages financial and ­fiscal incentives programmes to promote private investment in R&D and to foster collaborative R&D between companies and R&D institutions for an effective transfer of knowledge to the market. ANI also promotes the internationalisation of Portuguese innovative companies and R&D institutions through supporting their participation in the Horizon Europe R&DI Framework Programme as well as other international networks for R&D cooperation and business internationalisation such as the Enterprise Europe Network and the Eureka Network.

Portugal has now for the third time since becoming one of the 18 founding member states of the Eureka Network in 1985 taken over the Chairmanship of Eureka from July 2021 until June 2022. ANI is part of the Chairmanship Team, hosting the National Eureka office.

FACTS about Portuguese participation in CELTIC- NEXT projects

The EUREKA Clusters prove to be an excellent channel for the internationalisation of Portuguese companies, academia, RTOs and research centres enabling them to access to global value chains, to new knowledge and to partner with numerous countries. In fact, the opportunity offered by the Eureka Network and the Clusters projects to collaborate beyond Europe on a truly global stage is one of the major benefits identified by companies.

CELTIC-NEXT is the Eureka Cluster with
the largest Portuguese participation. This is related to the fact that the technological area with the largest Portuguese participation in EUREKA projects is electronics, IT and telecoms technology (62 %).

Between 2008-2020, 31 CELTIC projects with Portuguese participation were funded. Since 2017, with the introduction of a grant-based funding instrument relying on European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to support Eureka and Eurostars projects, the funding of Eureka Clusters projects has become more agile and stable in Portugal. This has raised interest and created renewed dynamics among stakeholders to apply and participate.

Under the new instrument “Projetos de I&D Industrial à Escala Europeia”, 11 new CELTIC projects were recently funded, reflecting a total investment from the Portuguese entities involved of 7 million euro and corresponding to approximately 4.5 million euro of public funding.

The Portuguese entities most represented in CELTIC-NEXT projects include companies such as UBIWHERE Lda, CELFINET – CONSULTORIA EM TELECOMUNICAÇÕES, S.A., Proef Eurico Ferreira S.A., GLINTT Healthcare Solutions S.A., Wavecom – Soluções Radio S.A., and renowned research centres like Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), or Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco.

CELTIC-NEXT projects with Portuguese participation focus on several ICT areas such as energy efficiency and quality of service/experience in mobile telecommunications networks, smart operations optimization and performance monitoring in mobile telecommunications networks, healthcare, smart cities, and internet of the future. Their main partner countries are Spain, France, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Canada, Korea, and Israel.

As an added-value of participating in
CELTIC-NEXT projects, Portuguese entities report an overall increase in competitiveness levels through the possibility to access new markets, to improve their positioning in global value chains, an increase in exports, improvement in R&DI capacities and gain of new expertise through the possibility to employ highly qualified human resources and lastly, the enlargement of the company’s product portfolio and cross-selling of solutions.

ANI headquarters in Porto

› Further information
ANI website –