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EIC Pathfinder

Support to research teams to research or develop an emerging breakthrough technology


What can you expect as part of EIC Pathfinder?

With its Pathfinder programme the EIC supports the exploration of bold ideas for radically new technologies. It welcomes the high-risk / high gain and interdisciplinary cutting-edge science collaborations that underpin technological breakthroughs. 

Pathfinder goes beyond what is already known. Visionary thinking can open up promising avenues towards powerful new technologies.

Applicants participating in EIC Pathfinder projects are typically visionary scientists, entrepreneurial researchers and, research organisations, start-ups, high-tech SMEs and industrial stakeholders interested in technological research and innovation.

Projects typically involve consortia of researchers and other partners from at least three different countries, but there are also opportunities for individual teams and small consortia (two partners).

Grants of up to 3 to 4 million euro support early stage development of future technologies (e.g. various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels 1-3), up to proof of concept. Pathfinder projects can also receive additional funding for testing the innovation potential of their research outputs.

Funding opportunities

EIC work programme
(1.82 MB - PDF)

The EIC Pathfinder programme consists of a combination of both open and challenge driven funding.

Open Funding

EIC Pathfinder Open provides funding for projects in any field of science or technology, based on high-risk/high-gain science-towards-technology breakthrough interdisciplinary research.

Strategic EIC Pathfinder Challenges

EIC Pathfinder funding is also available for specific challenges that are typically steered by an EIC Programme Manager. In 2021 these Challenges are:

Challenge: Awareness inside
For projects to: to develop new concepts of awareness that are applicable to systems other than human; to demonstrate and validate the role and added-value of such an awareness in an aware technology, class of artefacts or services; and to define an integrative approach for awareness engineering, its technological toolbox, the needs and implications and its limits, including ethical and regulatory requirements. 

Challenge: Tools to measure & stimulate activity in brain tissue
For projects to develop novel neurotechnologies to diagnose or treat  brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerve-related disorders and which can be rapidly accepted by clinicians and patients.   

Challenge: Emerging technologies in cell & gene therapy
For breakthrough projects that propose novel concept-based technological solutions or technological platforms far beyond the current state-of-the-art with aim to tackling current bottlenecks from discovery to the manufacturing step towards clinical grade and thus, reinforce critical components of the European cell and gene therapy innovation-driven community.

Challenge: Novel routes to green hydrogen production
For projects to develop novel processes and technologies to produce Green H2, at different scales (from small to large) and with higher flexibility, entirely based on renewable sources and on the use of toxic free, non-critical raw materials. 

Challenge: Engineered living material
For projects to develop new technologies and platforms for the controlled and made-on-demand production of engineered living materials with multiple functionalities, shapes and scales. 

Latest statistics - 25 May 2021 cut-off

projects chosen
out of 868 proposals
€ 168 million
total EU contribution
€3 million average grant per project
from 29 countries

Support for applicants

General publications16 June 2021
EIC Pathfinder Challenges - Application form template
(157.58 KB - DOCX)


General publications26 March 2021
Pathfinder Open proposal template
(824.95 KB - PDF)


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