The EIC Pathfinder provides funding for advanced research on breakthrough technologies. Alongside an open call for funding that closed on 19th May, the European Innovation Council (EIC) has announced five Pathfinder Challenges for 2021:

  1. Awareness inside (consciousness in AI systems)
  2. Tools to measure and stimulate activity in brain tissue
  3. Emerging technologies in cell and gene therapy
  4. Novel routes to green hydrogen production
  5. Engineered living materials
What are the Pathfinder Challenges?

Pathfinder Challenges provide a top-down funding opportunity that targets the EIC’s strategic priorities. Each challenge sets out to build on cutting-edge science and technology, leading to disruptive innovations grounded in high-risk research and development. With each challenge call, the EIC aims to establish a multi-disciplinary portfolio of projects which will be supervised by a dedicated EIC Programme Manager.

Who can apply?

Firstly, you should apply if you have a project idea that could contribute to the goals of one of the challenges. In contrast to the Open Call, the Pathfinder Challenges support applications from both consortia and single legal entities (unless otherwise stated in the specific challenge criteria).

What funding is available?

The total indicative budget for this call is €132 million which will be split across the five challenges. Typically, individual proposals should cost up to €4 million and the grant will cover 100% of your project’s eligible costs. However, applicants can request larger amounts if there is a justifiable need for extra funding.

Further grants of up to €50,000 will be available to explore pathways to commercialisation or for portfolio activities. As well as this, successful applicants will receive access to a wide range of Business Acceleration services and be able to submit an EIC Accelerator proposal via a fast-track scheme.

More information

The call will open from 15th June until 27th October 2021. For more information on each of the challenges, such as specific eligibility criteria, download the EIC work programme. If you’re thinking of applying and would like bid writing support, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.

In addition, you can find alternative grant funding opportunities on our blog or in our monthly newsletter.