As one of three funding programmes of the European Innovation Council (EIC), the EIC Pathfinder enters right from the start with a good idea. EIC Pathfinder makes it possible to tackle challenging, ground-breaking and novel approaches in the field of scientific, technological or deep-tech research and development. The funding programme is aimed at those who are willing to experiment and who want their research and development to lead to cutting-edge technologies and shape progress in their field.


Topics and Application Deadlines

Topic-wise, there initially are no limits. The EIC Pathfinder call is open from the beginning of 2023 so that all innovative project proposals from science, technology or application can apply. The application deadline for project proposals is the 7th of March 2023.

Additionally, there are thematically predefined challenges in the EIC Pathfinder each year. The funded projects should contribute to advancing research and development in specific fields. The application deadline for participation in the EIC Challenges is the 18th of October 2023.

Up to Three Million Euros With a 100% Funding Rate

For 2023, the EIC Pathfinder open call has a total budget of €179.5 million. The maximum amount of funding per project is up to 3 million euros, with a 100% funding rate for all applicants. Additionally, the teams of funded projects will have access to a range of support services, as well as contact with EIC officers who will provide advice during project implementation. Finally, a successful application to the EIC Pathfinder opens opportunities for other cost-effective funding.


Who Can Apply?

The funding programme is aimed at visionaries with ambitious ideas who want to develop cutting-edge technology. The project must be feasible and the scientific breakthrough that will enable the technology 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., a group 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 in specific thematic areas, the so-called EIC Pathfinder Challenges.

What Projects Are Funded?

Funding is available for projects that address the implementation of highly innovative technologies and have the potential to open new markets or address global challenges. The EIC Pathfinder supports projects that are at an early stage of tech development and at a low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 1-4. Additionally, project proposals must be based on high-risk science and have the potential to achieve a technological breakthrough.

The project proposal must also meet the following three gatekeeper requirements:

  1. The project is based on a long-term and compelling vision with the potential to deliver a technology that will transform our economy and society.

  2. The project follows a novel and ambitious scientific approach with the potential to achieve technological advances or even a technological breakthrough.

  3. The project follows a very risky research approach and methodology with a very high potential payoff, but the objectives are clear and plausible.

The EIC Pathfinder supports interdisciplinary research and development efforts, bringing together experts from different scientific fields with various perspectives, technical languages and methodologies. Combining these different approaches intends 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.

Projects should be in the process of validating 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 a publication. EIC Pathfinder projects should give young researchers and developers the opportunity to work in an experienced team and to contribute their promising new approaches. Women should also be encouraged in their research and integrated into project teams. We, therefore, advise the applicant teams to embrace and practice diversity.

EIC Pathfinder Application Requirements

The EIC invites project proposals from a consortium of partners until the 7th of March 2023. There are no field-related 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. Regarding the funding of associated countries, the rules of the Horizon Europe funding programme apply.

Project partners can include universities, research organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups, industrial partners, or individuals.

How To Apply?

All application documents must be submitted via the EU online portal. You are normally expected to receive funding application feedback within five months.

Executive Summary

The EIC Pathfinder originates from an innovative idea that is aimed at researchers and developers whose high-risk scientific or methodological approach could lead to breakthrough technological success. The EIC Pathfinder supports project proposals with up to €3 million at a funding rate of 100%.

Unsure which ones from the Open Topic Programme and Challenges are more suitable for your project? We will gladly advise you on your idea and assist you with the application process.

Not ready to submit your idea by the 7th of March 2023? Our experts will prepare you for the next open call of the EIC Pathfinder. Contact us at any time.

Make your vision of breakthrough technology a reality with the EIC Pathfinder!


Author: Christina Tanosova

Stefan Durm

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Stefan Durm

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I have been successfully involved in international projects for about 10 years. I have designed and coordinated international research consortia as well as (co-)developed and successfully implemented more than 50 business plans for highly innovative deep-tech start-ups. To keep sharpening my knowledge, I am a founding member of the European Association of Innovation Consultants (EAIC) and represent EurA there.This makes me a very good first point of contact for questions about international funding projects.

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