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European Innovation Council
News article26 February 20211 min read

European Innovation Council awards €74 million to cutting-edge technologies for the green and digital transitions

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Pathfinder Pilot has selected 18 new projects that aim to support the EU green and digital transitions. 

They are set to receive a total of €74 million following the latest round of applications for funding.

The successful projects were selected from the 236 submissions, with the highest number of selected applicants coming from Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. The majority of participants originate from higher education and research organisations and 18% are SMEs.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

The EIC Pathfinder translates game-changing technology research projects into innovative businesses focused on sustainability, digitalisation and deep technology. Investments through Horizon Europe mean that we can back many more of these yet-to-be-discovered technologies and support visionary researchers and entrepreneurs.

Emerging Paradigms and Societies - Projects funded under this call will enhance interdisciplinary research in many fields. They will test the social application of artificial intelligence (AI), search for breakthroughs in energy storage and conversion that is clean, compact and ultimately low-cost, helping to meet Europe’s climate ambition.  They will also “measure the unmeasurable” – test new approaches for nano- and sub-nano metrology.

Environmental Intelligence – the five selected projects will look for new synergies between the distant disciplines of environmental modelling, advanced sensor research, social sciences, and AI, that can lead to radically new approaches. Among the selected ideas are wireless wearable self-powered sensors for in-situ monitoring of urban environments and self-deployable and biodegradable miniaturised robots to detect key environmental parameters in air and topsoil.

As well as a share of the €74 million budget, selected projects will receive access to EIC business acceleration support and coaching services. Following the success of the EIC pilot phase (2018–20), the fully-fledged EIC is expected to be launched early next year under Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme, with increased funding for breakthrough technologies and proactive management by EIC Programme Managers.

Background information
Funding was available under two calls: FET Proactive: Emerging Paradigms and Societies and Environmental Intelligence, both seeking for cutting-edge high risk/high-reward research and innovation projects. The average EU grant is €4 million per project.


Publication date
26 February 2021