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European Innovation Council
News article14 March 2024European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency2 min read

EIC Pathfinder Challenges 2023 results: over €150 million to support cutting edge research projects in key technology areas

The Commission has selected 43 new projects to receive €159 million of EU Funding under Pathfinder Challenges 2023, while Pathfinder Open 2024 has closed with high interest receiving 1119 proposals submitted from 64 countries.

The Commission selected 43 new projects under the 2023 EIC Pathfinder Challenges call for cutting edge research projects to achieve breakthroughs in five strategic areas. The successful projects were chosen among 368 submitted eligible proposals and will receive €159 million of EU Funding (on average €3.7 million per project).

EIC Programme Managers were directly involved in setting the Pathfinder Challenges and selecting portfolios of projects among the best applications. They will now proceed to pro-actively manage these portfolios in order to increase their impact.

Participants predominantly come from higher education institutions (45%), private organisations (26%), and research organisations (21%). The 2023 Pathfinder Challenges calls were made in five key areas:

  • Clean and efficient cooling
  • Construction digitalisation
  • Precision nutrition
  • Responsible electronics
  • In-space solar energy

With each specific Challenge, the EIC will establish a portfolio of projects that explores different perspectives, competing approaches or complementary aspects of the Challenge. Selected projects will receive not only grants, but also access to tailored-made coaching under the EIC Business Acceleration Services and potential fast track access to the EIC Accelerator.

High interest for EIC Pathfinder Open 2024

In parallel to EIC Pathfinder Challenges 2023 results becoming available, the EIC Pathfinder Open 2024 call (deadline 7 March 2024) has closed with high interest.

1119 proposals were submitted, including a total of 5632 participants from 64 countries. The total indicative budget for this call is €136 million (average EU grant of €3 million). The evaluation process has begun and the results will be available in summer 2024.

Background information

With its Pathfinder scheme, 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.

Grants of up to €3 (Pathfinder Open call) or up to €4 million (Pathfinder Challenges call) support early-stage development of future technologies (e.g. various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels 1-3), up to proof of concept.  EIC Pathfinder projects benefit from interactions with EIC Programme Managers and can receive additional funding for testing the innovation potential of their research outputs or for working across projects for portfolio actions. In addition, promising results can receive substantial follow up funding through the EIC Transition scheme to create a commercial venture or use the Fast Track scheme to access the EIC Accelerator to bring innovations to the market.

Related links

Apply for 2024 EIC Pathfinder Challenges calls (Deadline 16 October 2024):

  • ”Solar-to-X” devices
  • Towards cement and concrete as a carbon sink
  • Nature inspired alternatives for food packaging and films for agriculture
  • Nanoelectronics for energy-efficient smart edge devices
  • Strengthening the sustainability and resilience of EU space infrastructure

List of Selected Projects

EIC Pathfinder – 2023 Challenges call statistics

Info day for European Innovation Council Pathfinder Challenges – Work Programme 2024


Publication date
14 March 2024
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency