Paris—The French-inspired Eureka program is hoping to forge links with the world of venture capital to finance a series of cooperative industrial research and development projects throughout Europe.

The 2-year-old program features 108 projects involving industrial firms from at least two European countries. Member governments agree to help their own national companies, typically through subsidies, but do not provide direct financial aid. As a consequence, several small and medium-sized companies are finding their finances strained by their involvement in such high-risk fields as biotechnology and robotics. "Eureka is now reaching the stage where outside funding can be involved," Eduardo Months of the Spanish Center for Technological and Industrial Development told a recent meeting in Madrid of the European Venture Capital Association. For some projects, Months said, such outside support is crucial. His comments came on the heels of a study by Britains Cranfield Institute of Technology that criticized Sweden, Denmark...

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