EIC Pathfinder


What can you expect as part of EIC Pathfinder?

With its Pathfinder programme the EIC supports the exploration of bold ideas for radically new technologies. It welcomes the high-risk / high gain and interdisciplinary cutting-edge science collaborations that underpin technological breakthroughs. 

Pathfinder goes beyond what is already known. Visionary thinking can open up promising avenues towards powerful new technologies.

Applicants participating in EIC Pathfinder projects are typically visionary scientists and entrepreneurial researchers from universities, research organisations, start-ups, high-tech SMEs or 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 euro support early stage development of future technologies (e.g. various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels 1-3), up to proof of concept. Pathfinder projects can also receive additional funding for testing the innovation potential of their research outputs.

Yellow question mark on a background of black signs, FAQ Concept

What is the expected size and duration of an EIC Pathfinder project? Can single beneficiaries apply and if yes, will they be competing against multi-beneficiary proposals?

EIC considers proposals with a requested EU contribution of up to EUR 3 million for Pathfinder Open and up to EUR 4 million for Pathfinder Challenges as appropriate. Nonetheless, this does not preclude you to request larger amounts, if properly justified.

In general, there is no specific expectation on the number of partners in a consortium or the duration of EIC Pathfinder projects, which should be “fit-for-purpose”, i.e. decided in line with the S&T ambition, by ensuring an efficient implementation strategy of the planned R&I, dissemination and exploitation activities and considering quickly changing research landscape in given area(s). Note however that the eligibility conditions of each call needs to be satisfied (e.g., 3 minimum legal entities for consortia in Pathfinder Open and 2 for consortia in the Pathfinder Challenge, unless specified in the Challenge text call). For some Pathfinder Challenges, projects are expected to have a set duration specified in the in the Challenge Guide.

Applications from single legal entities are not eligible under the EIC Pathfinder Open call. Single legal entities can however submit applications under the EIC Pathfinder Challenges call, where they will compete with proposals submitted by consortia.

What range of TRL should EIC Pathfinder projects cover? What is the expected project output?

It is expected that the various activities within the EIC Pathfinder projects should cover low TRLs, typically in the range between TRL 1 and 4. Note however that the TRLs range of some EIC Pathfinder Challenges may be narrower as specified in the given Pathfinder Challenge text call and Challenge Guide.

The main expected outcomes of Pathfinder projects are top-level scientific publications in open access and an adequate formal protection of the generated Intellectual Property (e.g. a patent application). In addition, the expected outcome of Pathfinder Open project is the proof of principle that the main ideas of the envisioned future technology are feasible, thus validating its scientific and technological basis. For Pathfinder Challenge projects, the expected outcomes are described in the given Challenge text call and Challenge Guide. Moreover, Pathfinder Challenge projects are also expected to contribute to the outcomes of the Challenge Portfolio activities as described in the Challenge Guide.

Is participation of SMEs or industrial partners to EIC Pathfinder consortia compulsory?

The participation of SMEs and industrial partners in the EIC Pathfinder consortia is not compulsory.

Please note however that for the Pathfinder Open call, applicants are encouraged to involve and empower in their team key actors that have the potential to become future leaders in their field such as excellent early-career researchers or promising high-tech SMEs, including start-ups.

Can you provide some examples of eligible and non-eligible consortium compositions in the EIC Pathfinder Challenges call?

The EIC Pathfinder Challenges call is open for participation of single legal entities established in a Member State (MS) or an Associated Country (AC). Note however that mid-caps and larger companies are not permitted as single applicants. Consortia of several legal entities can also participate in this call provided that they fulfil certain eligibility criteria:

  • Consortia of two entities must be two independent legal entities from two different MS or AC.
  • Consortia of three or more entities must include as beneficiaries at least three legal entities, independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
    • at least one legal entity established in a Member State; and
    • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member State or Associated Country.

Important: associated partners participate in the project without funding but are not a party to the grant agreement which they do not sign. They are therefore not taken into consideration for the eligibility of the project. An affiliated entity to a beneficiary is not considered as independent legal entity.

Examples of ineligible consortia:

  • a French university, a German research organisation and a French SME (consortium of three legal entities, but only two MS or AC represented)
  • a Polish university, am Italian university, a Polish SME and an Italian company (consortium of more than three legal entities, but only two MS or AC represented)
  • a Finish research organisation, a Finish university, a Norwegian SME and a Canadian university (the Canadian university participates as associated partner; hence this is a consortium of three legal entities, but only two MS or AC represented)

Examples of eligible consortia:

  • a Maltese university and a Czech SME (consortium of two legal entities with two different MS or AC represented)
  • A Greek research organisation and a Swiss university (the Swiss university participates as associated partner; hence this is not counted as a consortium but as a single legal entity)

A Portuguese company, an Israelian hospital, a Latvian university, and a US research organisation (there are three entities from two different MS and one AC, and one associated partner).

For further clarifications, see FAQ "In Horizon Europe, what is the status of participants from non-EU, Associated or Third Countries?"

How will the rebuttal (“right-to-react”) procedure in the evaluation process of EIC Pathfinder work in practice? How will applicants be contacted for submitting observations? ? What happens if an applicant does not submit observations?

About 1.5 - 2.5 months after the call deadline the applicants will receive the evaluators’ comments via the  Funding & tenders portal, the deadline for sending replies to these comments will be eight calendar days (at 17h00 Brussels local time) after the receipt of these comments. The participants’ replies are strictly limited to maximum two A4 pages. They cannot be used to alter or add to the content of the proposals but must strictly focus providing clarifications and/or on responding to potential misunderstandings or errors by the evaluators. The replies will be made available to the evaluation committee who will decide on the final score on the basis of the remote score and the outcome of its consensus discussions, taking into consideration the comments from the rebuttal procedure, if any.

There are no consequences if a participant does not submit observations (not compulsory).

For the Pathfinder Challenges call, what does it mean that portfolio considerations will be taken into account in the evaluation process? What does the portfolio approach mean for beneficiaries in successful Pathfinder Challenges projects?

The evaluation process includes two steps:

  • an assessment of each proposal separately and
  • the Evaluation Committee will consider each proposal’s contribution to setting up of a consistent portfolio of projects.

Portfolio considerations for a given Challenge call are described in the Pathfinder Challenge Guide. As a general principle, in order to balance out the portfolio, a mapping of the proposals in a number of categories will be used. A suitable portfolio of proposals will be selected by the evaluation committee by applying portfolio considerations in order to propose for funding a coherent set of projects to achieve the expected outcomes and impacts of the Challenge.

Projects in a Challenge portfolio are expected to interact and exchange, remaining flexible and reactive in the light of developments within the portfolio or in the relevant global scientific or industrial community. They will progress together towards common Portfolio goals and create new opportunities for radical innovation as described in the Challenge Guide for the particular Challenge.

Why and when may Pathfinder Open projects be added to an EIC portfolio? What kind of portfolio activities are expected? Can projects or beneficiaries, selected to join a portfolio, opt out?

EIC funded projects may be allocated in at least one thematic or challenge-based portfolio of projects. This allocation may change over time as new portfolios are created or evolve. EIC Portfolio activities will be identified and developed by EIC Programme Managers in consultation with the beneficiaries of the actions in each portfolio, and where appropriate with other interested EIC Community members and third parties. The aim of thematic portfolios is to develop cooperation within the portfolio in order to support the member-projects in achieving more efficiently and effectively their objectives, and more generally to enhance research, prepare transition to innovation and stimulate business opportunities, and strengthen the EIC Community. Such activities may include participation to conferences, workshops or meetings, data sharing, or participation to any relevant EIC Business Acceleration Services events, just to name a few.

It should be emphasised that the Pathfinder Open call is bottom-up and thus the level of adherence of a proposal to one or several existing portfolios is not an eligibility or evaluation criterion for proposals submitted to this call. It is nevertheless expected that all Pathfinder projects will be included in at least one portfolio.

How will participation in portfolio activities be supported? At the submission, do proposals need to allocate a budget for portfolio activities?

Pathfinder Open proposals do not need to allocate budget for these activities while those from Pathfinder Challenges should allocate a corresponding budget as indicated in the relevant Challenge Guide.

In specific cases the participation in portfolio activities may be supported by booster grants with fixed amounts of up to EUR 50 000 per project.

Will the Pathfinder challenges still exist in future Work Programme?

The Challenge-driven approach will continue in future EIC work programmes beyond 2022. The topics identified for the challenge-driven calls in the  EIC work programme 2023 will evolve, with new topics identified in later years, with the possibility of some topics identified in this Work Programme to be complemented with additional funding. Throughout 2023, the EIC will organise various discussions and events to help identify the most promising emerging topics for the Challenges, and EIC Programme Managers are expected to play a central role in this process.

Are there events foreseen to support the formation of consortium for Pathfinder calls?

The European Commission supports the formation of consortia for Pathfinder calls by means of its Partner Search tool on the Funding and Tenders Portal.  Specific networking events may be organised and announced at a later stage. Please also contact your National Contact Point for further information and support.

In the Pathfinder Open evaluations, how do you apply the “gender balance amongst work package leaders” criterion when prioritising proposals with the same final score?

Applicants must include information about the gender of their work package leaders in the application form (part B, table 3.1a – list of work packages). This information will be used to calculate the gender balance criterion. Proposals with a more balanced composition in terms of gender of work package leaders get priority.

Work packages for which the gender of the work package leader is not clearly indicated will be counted as contributing to the gender which is already mostly represented. Work package leaders which are leading more than one work package will be counted only once. Proposals where the information on the gender of work package leaders is entirely missing will be counted as 100% imbalanced.

In the Pathfinder Open evaluations, how do you apply the “number of Member States and Associated Countries” criterion when prioritising proposals with the same final score?

This criterion is applied by calculating how many Member States (MS) and Associated Countries (AC) are represented in the consortium. Consortia with a larger number of MS and AC represented get priority. Associated partners not requesting funding are not taken into account. Countries with several entities are only counted once.Example:

  • Consortium A with 2 German, 3 Spanish, 2 Estonian and 1 Tunisian entities: 4 Member States and Associated Countries represented
  • Consortium B with 1 Greek, 3 Norwegian, 1 Lithuanian, 1 Swiss and 1 US entity: 3 Member States and Associated Countries represented

Consortium A has priority over consortium B.


Concept image of a calendar with red push pins

The EIC Pathfinder programme consists of a combination of both open and challenge driven funding.

Open Funding

EIC Pathfinder Open provides funding for projects in any field of science or technology, based on high-risk/high-gain science-towards-technology breakthrough interdisciplinary research.

The total indicative budget for this call is EUR 179.5 million.

The EIC Pathfinder Open 2023 call will close on the 7th March 2023 17.00 (CET).

For more details read the EIC Work Programme 2023 and check the Funding & tenders portal.

Strategic EIC Pathfinder Challenges

EIC Pathfinder funding is also available for specific challenges that are typically steered by an EIC Programme Manager.

2023 EIC Pathfinder Challenges

The total indicative budget for this call is EUR 163.5 million which is expected to be allocated in approximately equal shares across the Challenges.

The call will open on 20 June 2023 and it will be closed on the 18 October 2023 at 17h00 Brussels local time.


Accessibility Toolbar

"We help organizations prepare and manage all the process to secure public and private funding, with a special focus on grant writing and innovation project management".

Our Privacy Policy

This privacy policy will explain how Instituto de Asesores SL (IA) uses the personal data we collect from you when you use our website.


  • What data do we collect?
  • How do we collect your data?
  • How will we use your data?
  • How do we store your data?
  • Marketing
  • What are your data protection rights?
  • What are cookies?
  • How do we use cookies?
  • What types of cookies do we use?
  • How to manage your cookies
  • Privacy policies of other websites
  • Changes to our privacy policy
  • How to contact us
  • How to contact the appropriate authorities

What data do we collect?

IA collects the following data:

  • Personal identification information (Name, email address, and phone number).
  • Messages sent through the contact form and comments on our posts.

How do we collect your data?

You directly provide IA with most of the data we collect. We collect data and process data when you:

  • Register online.
  • Voluntarily complete a customer survey or provide feedback on any of our posts or via email.
  • Use or view our website via your browser’s cookies.
  • Complete a contact form request.

IA may also receive your data indirectly from the following sources:

  • No other means.

How will we use your data?

IA collects your data so that we can:

  • Process your order and manage your account.
  • Email you with special offers on other products and services we think you might like.
  • Use anonymized data for customer profiling activities.

We will never share your data with any other companies.

How do we store your data?

IA securely stores your data on the premises of our cloud database provider in Frankfurt and our own servers in Bulgaria and Lithuania.

IA will keep your messages and personal details for ten years. Once this time period has expired, we will delete your data by removing the corresponding records in our databases.


IA would like to send you information about our products and services that we think you might like. If you have agreed to receive marketing, you may always opt-out at a later date.

You have the right at any time to stop IA from contacting you for marketing purposes. If you no longer wish to be contacted for marketing purposes, please contact us to let us know.

What are your data protection rights?

IA would like to make sure you are fully aware of all of your data protection rights. Every user is entitled to the following:

The right to access – You can request IA for copies of your personal data. We may charge you a small fee for this service.

The right to rectification – You have the right to request that IA corrects any information you believe is inaccurate. You also have the right to request IA to complete the information you believe is incomplete.

The right to erasure – You have the right to request that IA erases your personal data under certain conditions.

The right to restrict processing – You have the right to request that IA restricts the processing of your personal data under certain conditions.

The right to object to processing – You have the right to object to IA’s processing of your personal data under certain conditions.

The right to data portability – You have the right to request that IA transfers the data that we have collected to another organization or directly to you under certain conditions.

If you make a request, we have one month to respond. If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please contact us using our contact form.


Cookies are text files placed on your computer to collect standard Internet log information and visitor behavior information. When you visit our websites, we may collect information from you automatically through cookies or similar technology.

How do we use cookies?

IA uses cookies in a range of ways to improve your experience on our website, including:

  • Keeping you signed in
  • Understanding how you use our website

What types of cookies do we use?

There are several different types of cookies. However, our website uses the following:

  • Functionality – Our Company uses these cookies so that we recognize you on our website and remember your previously selected preferences. These could include what language you prefer and the location you are in. A mix of first-party and third-party cookies is used.
  • Advertising – Our Company uses these cookies to collect information about your visit to our website, the content you viewed, the links you followed and information about your browser, device, and your IP address.

How to manage cookies

You can set your browser not to accept cookies. However, in a few cases, some of our website features may fail to function.

Privacy policies of other websites

The IA website contains links to other websites. Our privacy policy applies only to our website, so if you click on a link to another website, you should read their privacy policy.

Changes to our privacy policy

IA keeps its privacy policy under regular review and places any updates on this web page. This privacy policy was last updated on January 1st, 2023.

How to contact us

If you have any questions about IA’s privacy policy or the data we hold on you, or you would like to exercise one of your data protection rights, please do not hesitate to contact us using our contact form.

How to contact the appropriate authority

Should you wish to report a complaint or if you feel that IA has not addressed your concern in a satisfactory manner, you may contact the Information Commissioner’s Office that corresponds to your jurisdiction.