European Innovation Council (EIC) Launches Pathfinder Challenges for 2023

A total of €163.5 million is available across five challenge areas to help validate the scientific basis of breakthrough technologies.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is the Commission’s primary tool for identifying and supporting breakthrough technologies and significant innovations with the potential to scale up internationally and become market leaders. The EIC Pathfinder enables multidisciplinary research teams to develop the scientific basis to underpin breakthrough technologies. This route supports early stage development of future technologies up to proof of concept.

The majority of funding issued through the EIC takes the form of Open Funding with no predefined thematic priorities. However, a challenge-driven approach is also used to provide funding to address specific technological and innovation breakthroughs, taking into account EU priorities for transitioning to a green, digital and healthy society.

The third round of Pathfinder Challenge calls under Horizon Europe are now open for application. Applicants are able to submit projects to achieve breakthroughs in the following five strategic areas:

Submissions may generally be made by consortia of at least three different independent legal entities (such as research organisations, universities, SMEs, start-ups, industry, natural persons) established in at least three different eligible countries (EU Member States and Associate Countries), of which at least one must be an EU Member State. However, single applicants may be able to apply for Pathfinder challenges according to the call specifications.

The total indicative budget is €163.5 million, which is expected to be allocated in approximately equal shares across the Challenges.

Grants of up to €4 million are available per project to enable them to achieve the proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of breakthrough technology (eg TRL 1-4).

Proposals must be submitted by the coordinator on behalf of a consortium by the 18 October 2023 deadline.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)