EUREKA is an international initiative launched in 1985 by 17 Western European countries to promote and support scientific and industrial research, with the overall objective "to increase productivity and competitiveness of European industry on the civilian world market."

Currently, 39 European countries are members of EUREKA, the European Union and an Associated country (South Korea). The initiative is strongly market- oriented and complementary to other European research programmes.

EUREKA is based on a bottom-up approach, that means the possibility that participants are directly given to launch European R & D projects according to their needs and by their own initiative, with minimum bureaucracy and maximum control and flexibility. This principle gives participants the entire responsibility for the definition and implementation of their project and ensures that all EUREKA projects are motivated by sound commercial and technological interests.

The participants in EUREKA projects are granted funds by their country of origin, based on existing funds and regulations. Self-financing participation is also possible.

The EUREKA initiative is of great importance for industrial research and is also a form of transnational collaboration for national companies. Assessments made on the Italian EUREKA projects, three and five years after their completion, have shown a good commercialization rate for research products.

The National Project Coordinators (NPCs) are the operational core of the network, and the interface between project participants and the EUREKA network . They work closely with the respective national funding authorities and their counterparts in other EUREKA countries. The National Coordinators and National EUREKA Offices assist participants in their partner research and provide help in the actual organization of a project. The Italian EUREKA National Project Coordinator is an expert from ENEA.