The European Commission created the European Innovation Council (EIC), Europe’s flagship innovation funding institute, with the aim of supporting breakthrough innovators facing difficulty financing their research and development activities. In total, the EIC programme has a budget of >€10 billion for 2021-2027, divided across three subprogrammes that address all stages of technological development.

By nature, novel scientific discoveries and their translation to an applied breakthrough technology are associated with high-risk, but also high-gain potential. To support visionary scientists and entrepreneurial researchers in early stages of technological development, the EIC created the EIC Pathfinder programme, which consists of open calls (‘EIC Open’) and challenge driven calls (‘EIC Challenges’). It funds interdisciplinary R&D, based on a long-term vision of societally transformative, radically new technology.


Open call

EIC Pathfinder aims to support research and early-stage technological innovations (R&D stage, TRL1-4) that have the potential to disrupt the respective scientific disciplines, and eventually be exploited to create new markets and address global changes. With a high-risk/high gain approach, an interdisciplinary consortium of minimum 3 partners from academia or industry can work together.

The aim of an EIC Pathfinder project should be to realise proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of a science-towards-technology breakthrough. The results obtained from the research should lead to top publication(s), and subsequently, to generating Intellectual Property and the further exploitation of the technology.


Deadline (Open Call): 3 May 2022

Subsidy: Max. €3M (total budget €183M)

Who can apply?
A consortium of minimum 3 partners from academia or industry (including SMEs) established in at least 3 different EU Member State countries or Horizon Europe associated countries.

Application and Evaluation process

The EIC Pathfinder proposal consists of a maximum of 17 pages, and will be evaluated by remote reviewers on the criteria: Excellence, Impact, and Quality and Efficiency of the Implementation. After 1.5-2.5 months you will be able to write a short rebuttal on reviewers comments and the final outcome of the evaluation will be provided within 5 months after the call deadline (start of the project: 8 months after the deadline).



Next to the EIC Pathfinder Open Call there are 6 EIC Pathfinder Challenges Calls in 2022 with a total budget of €167M. The deadline for all Challenges Calls is 19 October 2022. In addition, the maximum subsidy for the Challenges Calls is €4M. The consortium must consist of a minimum 3 partners from academia or industry (including SMEs), established in at least 3 different EU Member State countries. Additionally, single applicants and consortia of 2 partners are eligible for Pathfinder Challenges 4 and 5.

  1. Carbon dioxide & Nitrogen management and valorisation. Novel processes and technologies to enable carbon dioxide and nitrogen management/valorisation. A proposal should focus on new biological, chemical or physical routes without the use of critical raw materials.
  2. Mid-long term, systems-integrated energy storage. Solutions optimizing European energy storage. Proposals should develop mid/long term energy storage for power systems and mid/long term thermal energy storage at different temperatures.
  3. Cardiogenomics. Novel therapies for major CVD conditions such as haemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, aneurysm, cardiomyopathy, certain types of arrhythmias and other conditions for which no effective treatments are currently available.
  4. Healthcare Continuum technologies. Systems and technologies for unobtrusive monitoring of human health. Proposals can aim at monitoring a family of conditions or a wider mix of health factors.
  5. DNA-based digital data storage. Scalable and reliable high-throughput approaches for using DNA as a general data-storage medium. Projects should focus on read/write/edit operations of digital data in synthetic DNA.
  6. Alternative Quantum Information Processing, Communication, and Sensing. Innovative approaches to encode, manipulate, or store information in quantum objects, or to exploit quantum phenomena for information processing, communication, and sensing.