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  • FAQ: The key aspects you should know about EIC Pathfinder

    by Inés Zamarro & Alba Saldaña | Feb 16, 2022 | Reading time: 7 minutes | Blog


    Suppose, among the different funding options, you have considered focusing on applying for European public grants. In that case, we are quite sure the European Innovation Council (EIC) will be your top priority as it is indeed an excellent option to boost R&D ideas like yours.

    The publication of the EIC Work Programme 2022 introduces some novelties in its three funding schemes: Pathfinder, Transition and Accelerator. So it is worthwhile focusing on their different specifications, budget and objectives to check which one fits our financial plan better.

    In this case, we would like to start solving all those questions you may have about the EIC Pathfinder option, including the main specifications to better explain its two funding schemes: Open and Challenges

    We invite you to read them and check if the programme suits your project!


    EIC Pathfinder

    What makes EIC Pathfinder different?


    The Pathfinder option is conceived for advanced research, radically new ideas and game-changing technologies. Due to its nature, Pathfinder supports high-risk/high gain initiatives that advocate for a disruptive and visionary way of thinking.

    Pathfinder looks for technologies in an early stage of development. Therefore, those projects with Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) between 1 to 4 will be welcome.

    EIC Pathfinder is composed of a combination of two different funding options: EIC Pathfinder Open and EIC Pathfinder Challenges.


    Who are the typical Pathfinder applicants?


    Professionals who are behind Pathfinder applications are able to create new markets and/or address global challenges

    Thus, we can find entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, start-ups, SMEs, and stakeholders looking for technological research and innovation opportunities.


    Which technological and scientific fields are welcome?


    When we work in an interdisciplinary way, we can achieve progress, and creativity flows easily. 

    For that reason, all disciplines are included in this programme as they usually attract forward-thinking researchers.



    EIC Pathfinder Open

    How much could you receive if your proposal got funded?


    EIC Pathfinder can fund up to 100% of eligible costs.

    The total budget for EIC Pathfinder Open is €183 million. EIC has considered €3 million as the indicative quantity applicants can request. However, larger amounts are possible if they are appropriately justified.

    It is also possible to receive up to €50,000 to undertake complementary activities.


    Who can apply?


    EIC Pathfinder Open is designed for supporting collaborative research projects

    The proposal needs to be submitted by the coordinator of the consortium made up of at least three independent legal entities established in different EU member states or associated countries.

    Some examples of these organisations can be universities, start-ups, researchers, SMEs, industrial partners or natural persons.


    What should you know about the applying procedure?


    Pathfinder Open has a single-step application process, with a maximum of a 17-page proposal

    The next EIC Pathfinder Open’s deadline will be on May 3rd at 17h Brussels time.


    What are the evaluation criteria?


    The evaluation criteria are composed of these three parts:

    • Excellence (60%): The evaluation committee will evaluate long-term vision, science-towards-technology breakthroughs, objectives and interdisciplinarity in this part.
    • Impact (20%): Long-term impact, innovation potential and communication dissemination plan are evaluated at this point.
    • Quality and efficiency of the implementation (20%): This section comprises the following topics: quality of the consortium, work plan and allocation of resources.


    When will you know the results?


    These times are indicative, but the results are supposed to be released by 5 months after the call deadline. 

    For those successful projects, the grant agreement will be signed 8 months after the submission.



    EIC Pathfinder Challenges

    What are the EIC Pathfinder Challenges?


    The projects submitted to EIC Pathfinder Challenges should address one of the specific objectives established by the EIC, which are:

    1. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen management and valorisation:
      Projects to overcome climate change, global warming and pollution through the development of novel processes and technologies to enable better CO2 and nitrogen management.
    2. Mid to long term and systems integrated energy storage:
      Under this Challenge, the EIC aims to optimise energy storage systems to achieve higher penetration of renewable technologies and, therefore, a more sustainable Europe.
    3. Cardiogenomics:
      For those initiatives that develop early diagnosis and accurate treatment of cardiovascular diseases, getting an impact on the practice of cardiology, giving a boost on the implementation of personalised care in this area and enabling new techniques such as 3D in-vitro models.
    4. Towards the Healthcare Continuum:
      The EIC will support technologies and systems for unobtrusive monitoring through a continuous healthcare model by shifting from a symptom-triggered approach to a more proactive one based on a continuous accompaniment of individuals.
    5. DNA-based digital data storage:
      New approaches to allow DNA research, tools and techniques which can mean a big step forward in the creation and consolidation of a European innovation ecosystem on DNA-based data technologies and applications.
    6. Alternative approaches to Quantum Information Processing, Communication, and Sensing:
      The goal is to develop solutions to encode, manipulate and store information in quantum objects with the final aim of forming the basis for future information management technologies.


    How much could you receive if your proposal gets funds?


    The Pathfinder Challenges’ budget is slightly lower than the Pathfinder Open option, as it is set at €167 million. To allocate that budget, the EIC considered up to €4 million as the appropriate contribution in this case.

    The funding rate is the same as the EIC Pathfinder Open: 100% of eligible costs

    On the other hand, it is also possible to request an additional grant of up to €50,000 for complementary activities.


    Who can apply?


    Collaborative projects are welcome under the Pathfinder Challenges option. Also, you can participate as a mono-beneficiaries.

    If you are applying as a consortium, the coordinator must submit your proposal on behalf of at least two independent legal entities. These organisations can be universities, SMEs, start-ups, research organisations or natural persons. In the case of single applicants, mid-caps and larger companies are not allowed.


    What should you know about the applying procedure?


    The EIC Pathfinder Challenges requires a maximum of a 25-page proposal which will be evaluated through a two-step procedure. EIC experts make a first remote evaluation, and finally, an EIC evaluation committee analyses the project contribution to EIC Pathfinder objectives.

    This option’s deadline is the same as the EIC Pathfinder Open’s: on October 19th at 17h Brussels time.


    What are the evaluation criteria?


    For the first step, the proposal will be evaluated and scored remotely according to the following evaluation criteria: 

    • Excellence (60%): Points evaluated here will be related to the relevance of the challenge, novelty and plausibility of the methodology.
    • Impact (20%): Potential impact of the project, innovation potential and communication and dissemination strategies will have a place here.
    • Quality and efficiency of the implementation (20%): This point remains similar to the EIC Pathfinder Open’s: quality of the consortium, work plan and allocation of resources.


    When will you know the results?


    In this case, there’s no difference between Open and Challenge as the results will be communicated by 5 months and the grant agreement will be signed 8 months after the call deadline.