As one of the three funding programmes of the European Innovation Council (EIC), the EIC Pathfinder starts at the very beginning of a good idea. The EIC Pathfinder enables challenging, pioneering and novel approaches in the field of scientific, technological or deep-tech research and development. The funding programme is aimed at those who are keen to experiment and who, through their research and development, want to create cutting-edge technologies and shape progress in their field.


What can you expect in this blog post?

This attractive funding programme is open again this year, with a budget of €256 million. Here you can find all information about possible topics, deadlines and application requirements.

With the new EIC Work Programme 2024, the European Innovation Council has also adjusted its EIC Pathfinder, the most important changes for applicants can also be found here in our blog article.



Topics and application deadlines 2024

The themes selected for this year's challenges are shown in the graph below. The funded projects are intended to help advance research and development in specific thematic areas of particular relevance to the EU. The deadline for applications to participate in the five EIC Pathfinder Challenges is 16 October 2024.

In the spring, the EIC Pathfinder was open to all innovative science, technology and application projects to apply for funding before the deadline of 7 March 2024.

Up to €4 million with a 100% funding rate

In 2024, the EIC Pathfinder open call has a budget of €136 million. The EIC Pathfinder Challenges have a budget of €120 million. The maximum amount of funding per project is up to €3 million in the open call and up to €4 million for all projects in the EIC Pathfinder Challenges. The funding rate is 100% for all applicants. Funded project teams will have access to a range of support services, as well as contact with EIC managers who will provide advice during the project implementation phase. In addition, a successful application to the EIC Pathfinder opens the door to other lucrative funding programmes.


Who can apply?

The funding programme is aimed at visionaries who have ambitious ideas and want to develop a breakthrough technology. The project must be feasible and the scientific breakthrough that the technology will enable must be plausibly achievable. In addition, the project should be carried out in collaboration with researchers and innovators from different disciplines and countries.

The EIC Pathfinder supports research projects carried out by a consortium, i.e. an association of at least three independent project partners from three different eligible countries. Individual applicants or small consortia of two partners can also apply for funding for specific topics, the so-called EIC Pathfinder Challenges.

Which projects are supported?

The EIC Pathfinder supports projects that address the realisation of highly innovative technologies that have the potential to open up new markets or address global challenges. The EIC Pathfinder supports projects that are in the early stages of technological development and have a low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 1-4. In addition, the projects must be based on high-risk science and have the potential to achieve a technological breakthrough.

In addition, the project proposal must fulfil the following three gatekeeper requirements:

  1. The funded project is based on a long-term and compelling vision with the potential to deliver a technology that will transform the European economy and society.
  2. The project follows a novel and ambitious scientific approach with the potential to achieve technological progress or even a technological breakthrough.
  3. The project pursues a very high-risk research approach and methodology, with a very high profit potential, but the objectives are concrete and plausible.

The EIC Pathfinder supports interdisciplinary research and development efforts that bring together experts from different scientific disciplines with different perspectives, languages and methodologies. The combination of different approaches is expected to open up new areas of research. The aim of the funding programme is to support newly formed interdisciplinary teams that exploit synergies and learn from each other.

In principle, the projects are intended to validate a scientific approach. An EIC Pathfinder project should demonstrate that the scientific theory and the resulting future technology are feasible. At the end of the project, the results must be made publicly available in the form of a publication. The EIC Pathfinder projects should give young researchers and developers the opportunity to work in an experienced team and contribute their promising new solutions. Women should also be encouraged in their research and integrated into project teams.

Our tip: Applicant teams should therefore be diverse.


Requirements for applying to the EIC Pathfinder

Projects applying to the EIC Pathfinder open call must be submitted by a consortium of partners, with no thematic requirements. The consortium must consist of at least three different legal entities established in different countries. One partner must be established in an EU Member State and the other two independent project partners must be established in different EU Member States or associated countries. Associated countries of the EU are for example Albania, Israel, Iceland, Norway or Georgia. The Horizon Europe rules apply to the funding of associated countries.

Projects applying for funding under the EIC Pathfinder Challenges can be designed and implemented individually or as part of a consortium. Project partners can be universities, research organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups, industrial partners or individuals.

How can I apply?

All application documents must be submitted via the EU's online grant application portal for applying for funding. You will usually receive feedback on the submitted application documents within five months.

What new features are there in EIC Pathfinder 2024?

Adapted to current developments and challenges in the European Union, the European Innovation Council publishes its work programme every year. This is a legally binding document that sets out how the EIC will use its resources for the year in question. The work programme is drawn up in consultation with the EIC Board and adopted by the European Commission.

This results in the following changes for the EIC Pathfinder 2024:

  • The funding budget of the EIC Pathfinder was reduced to €256 million for 2024 (2023: 343 million euros).
  • The rebuttal procedure was abolished in the EIC Pathfinder open.
  • The guidelines for intellectual property were adjusted based on the recommendations of the EIC Board.
  • The following applies to the EIC Pathfinder Challenges: funding is now based on the lump sum model.




The EIC Pathfinder starts right at the beginning of a good idea and is aimed at researchers and developers who could achieve ground-breaking technological success with their high-risk scientific or methodological approach. The EIC Pathfinder open supports projects with up to €3 million at a funding rate of 100 %.



Do you need support?

Are you unsure whether your project is better suited to the Open Themes Programme or the Challenges? We are happy to advise you on your project idea and support you through the application process.

Your idea is not yet ready for application? We will be happy to prepare you for the next open call of the EIC Pathfinder, contact us at any time.

Realise your vision of a groundbreaking technology with the EIC Pathfinder!


🖊️ Text: Christina Tanosova

Christina Tanosova

Your contact person
Christina Tanosova

Do you want to learn more about this topic? Schedule a meeting with an expert.

As a Grants Advisor, I support EurA's international funding team. During my studies of Political Science and International Relations, I was particularly interested in the funding and investment policies of the European Union. I have many years of professional experience and interdisciplinary knowledge in applying for, managing and implementing European and national funding projects. I will be happy to advise you on international funding opportunities and answer any questions you may have about your project. Let's go through your innovation process together, from the first idea to commercialisation!

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