The Pathfinder is a funding scheme proposed by the European Innovation Council (EIC) as part of the Horizon Europe programme, to promote inter-disciplinary research and innovation on science-inspired and radically new future technologies.
Applicants participating in EIC Pathfinder projects are typically visionary scientists and entrepreneurial researchers from research organisations, start-ups, high-tech SMEs and industrial stakeholders interested in technological research and innovation.
Projects typically involve consortia of researchers and other partners from at least three different countries, but there are also opportunities for individual teams and small consortia (two partners).
Grants of up to 3 to 4 million euros support early-stage development of future technologies (e.g., various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels). Pathfinder projects can also receive additional funding for testing the innovation potential of their research outputs.
The EIC Pathfinder offers grants of up to €3 million for early-stage projects (TRL levels 1 to 4) of innovative technologies, based on science-towards-technology breakthrough research. These grants are for consortia of at least 3 partners from academia or industry (including SMEs), in at least 3 different EU Member State countries, and they cover 100% of directs costs.
*Subcontracting only for non-vital parts of the production and implementation (marketing, additional tasks, etc)
EIC Pathfinder funding is also available for five specific challenges:
With each specific challenge call, the EIC will establish a portfolio of projects that explore different perspectives, competing approaches or complementary aspects of the Challenge.
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.
* The “Awareness inside“ challenge has a minimum of 3 independent legal entities. For consortia that include 2 or more partners, each one must be established in a different Member State (or associated country and with at least one of them established in a Member State).