EIC Pathfinder Grants

The mission of EIC Pathfinder is to turn Europe's excellent science base into a competitive advantage. The grants are expected to initiate radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations in science and engineering.

There are two main funding instruments within the EIC Pathfinder programme: Pathfinder Open and Pathfinder Challenges.

EIC Pathfinder Open

The majority of funding is allocated to Pathfinder Open calls, which are completely 'bottom-up', allowing the applicant consortia complete freedom to choose the area of research. In this way they aim to target the unexpected - identifying promising new areas, developments and trends, wherever they come from. The calls for proposals are therefore entirely non-prescriptive with regards to the nature or purpose of the technologies that are envisaged.

To be eligible for Pathfinder Open calls you need a consortium of at least three different independent legal entities established in at least three different eligible countries (EU member states and associated countries). Grants of up to EUR 3 million are available

The next Pathfinder Open deadline is May 3rd 2022.

Is Pathfinder Open the right programme for your project?

Although Pathfinder Open has no pre-determined scientific priorities, in order to succeed your proposal does need to be very well-matched to the aims of the programme.

Pathfinder Open requires excellent science, but the reviewers are also looking for quite specific features in both the research and the consortium. They are not looking for blue-sky research, but it should be high risk and far beyond what would be expected as the next step. It is very important that the consortium is strongly multidisciplinary – much more so that in any other H2020 program – and that you can show there will be synergy and mutual learning between the partners, not just one partner handing over their results to the next. And it must be clear that the research project could lead to a new technology.

These features are the so-called ‘gatekeepers', and to be competitive your proposal needs to fulfil each one of them:

  • Convincing long-term vision of a radically new technology that has the potential to have a transformative positive effect to our economy and society. 
  • Concrete, novel and ambitious science-towards-technology breakthrough, providing advancement towards the envisioned technology. 
  • High-risk/high-gain research approach and methodology, with concrete and plausible objectives.

EIC Pathfinder Challenges

Pathfinder Challenges calls provide funding to address specific technological and innovation breakthroughs. These challenges take into account EU priorities for transitioning to a green, digital and healthy society, as well as the overall strategic planning for Horizon Europe, and the inputs of stakeholders, experts and the EIC pilot Advisory Board.

Pathfinder Challenges calls can be open to applications from both individual applicants and consortia, but this varies and it is important to check the requirements of the specific call and topic in which you are interested. Grants of up to EUR 4 million are available

The next Pathfinder Challenges call deadline is October 19th 2022. The planned topics are:

  • Carbon dioxide & Nitrogen management and valorisation
  • Mid-long term, systems-integrated energy storage
  • Cardiogenomics
  • Healthcare Continuum technologies
  • DNA-based digital data storage
  • Alternative Quantum Information Processing, Communication, and Sensing

Tips for applicants

Additional information on what the reviewers are looking for can be found in the 'tips for applicants' provided by the European Commission, which is highly recommended reading if you are considering to submit an application.

Submitting an application

More specific information on Pathfinder calls can be found in the current EIC Work Programme. Call documents, including application templates, can be found on the Horizon Europe Funding and Tenders Portal, from which the application is submitted.

The budget information and template provided by Grants Office for Horizon Europe Pillar II collaborative calls can also be used to help you prepare the budget for your Pathfinder application.

Support from Grants Office

If you are interested to apply to the EIC Pathfinder programme and would like to discuss your application, or have any questions, please contact jodie.guy.claesson@ki.se.