European Innovation Council to award up to €145 million to achieve breakthroughs in emerging, strategic areas of technology

The Commission selected 39 new projects under the 2021 EIC Pathfinder call for cutting edge research projects to achieve breakthroughs in five strategic areas. The successful projects were chosen among 403 submitted eligible proposals and will receive up to €145 million of EU funding (on average €3.7 million per project). This is the first time that EIC Programme Managers were directly involved in setting the challenges, and selecting portfolios of projects from among the best applications, and they will now pro-actively manage these portfolios to increase impact.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “Congratulations to all projects selected under the first EIC Pathfinder Challenges call. With the support of EIC Programme Managers, they will progress together towards common goals and create new opportunities for radical innovation. With the new mechanisms under the EIC, we have the means to support the whole value chain and to transform these innovative technologies into successful companies in Europe.”

Most applicants come from universities and research organisations, with a significant participation of SMEs (around 20%). The applicants could submit their proposals in five Challenges which are steered by EIC Programme Managers:

With each specific Challenge, the EIC will establish a portfolio of projects that explore different perspectives, competing approaches or complementary aspects of the Challenge. Selected projects will receive not only grants, but also access to tailored-made coaching under the EIC Business Acceleration Services and potential fast track access to the EIC Accelerator.

Next steps

Grant agreements for the selected projects are now being prepared and the projects will start in July 2022. Programme Managers will work with selected projects to develop a common roadmap for implementation.

2022 EIC Pathfinder Challenges call, with new challenges, will open for applications on 16 June with a deadline of 19 October 2022, 17.00 CET.

Background information

With its Pathfinder scheme, 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. 

Grants of up to €3 (Pathfinder Open call) or up to €4 million (Pathfinder Challenges call) support early-stage development of future technologies (e.g. various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels 1-3), up to proof of concept.  EIC Pathfinder projects benefit from interactions with EIC Programme Managers and can receive additional funding for testing the innovation potential of their research outputs or for working across projects for portfolio actions. In addition, promising results can receive substantial follow up funding through the EIC Transition scheme to create a commercial venture or use the Fast Track scheme to access the EIC Accelerator to bring innovations to the market.

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