EIC Pathfinder Challenge

Targeting specific strategic priorities with early stage development of a radically new technology and high-risk/high-gain science-towards-technology breakthrough research.

What is the EIC Pathfinder Challenges scheme?

  • The EIC Pathfinder Challenges is a call for Top – Down proposals that meets all the following essential characteristics (‘Gatekeepers’):
    • Meets the Challenge portfolio
    • Convincing long-term vision of a radically new deep-tech that has the potential to transform our economy and society in a positive way
    • Concrete, novel and ambitious science-towards-technology breakthrough, providing advancements towards the envisioned goal
    • High-risk/high-gain research approach and methodology, with concrete and plausible objectives
    • See the work program here

There are six EIC Pathfinder Challenges for 2022:

EIC Pathfinder Challenges Portfolios

  • With each specific challenge call detailed, the EIC will establish a portfolio of projects that explore different perspectives, competing approaches or complementary aspects. Each portfolio will be steered by an EIC Programme Manager.
  • Projects in a Challenge portfolio are expected to interact and exchange, remaining flexible and reactive in light of developments within the portfolio of that challenge or in the relevant global scientific or industrial community. They will progress together towards common goals and create new opportunities for radical innovation.

Who can apply?

  • Consortia that includes at least 2 independent legal entities, each one established in a different Member State (or associated country and with at least one of them established in a Member State) or according to the challenge specifications
  • Single applicants may be able to apply according to the challenge specifications
  • The legal entities may for example be universities, research organisations, SMEs, start-ups, natural persons (in the case of single beneficiary projects, mid-caps and larger companies will not be permitted)

Funding under the EIC Pathfinder Challenges scheme

  • Grants of up to EUR 4 million (or more if properly justified) to achieve the proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of breakthrough technology (TRL 1-4)
  • The funding rate of this grant will be 100% of the eligible costs + 25% overhead 

Additionally, funded projects are eligible to:

  • Receive additional grants with fixed amounts of up to EUR 50,000 to undertake complementary activities to explore potential pathways to commercialisation or for portfolio activities
  • Submit an Accelerator proposal via the Fast-Track scheme
  • Receive free access to a wide range of Business Acceleration Services 

Submission deadline:
In 2022 there will be one submission deadline: 19 October 2022 at 17.00.00 Brussels local time. The call will open on 15 June 2022.

Evaluation Process:

  • Your proposal will be first evaluated and scored remotely by EIC expert evaluators 
  • An EIC evaluation committee will consider all proposals passing the first step together in order to assess the best portfolio of projects to achieve the specific objectives of the Challenge 


Useful links: