EIC Pathfinder

The EIC Pathfinder aims to implement radically new technology concepts in the long term. This instrument is part of the EIC and replaces the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) funding programmes FET Open (developing novel ideas) and FET Proactive (building emerging themes and research landscapes). Both open-topic and topic-specific calls are planned for the 2021 work period.

The EIC Pathfinder Open - Developing Novel Ideas

This instrument is aimed at interdisciplinary teams of scientists and innovative entrepreneurs with a vision for radically new technologies. Funding supports the development of these new technologies at an early stage. SMEs are encouraged to collaborate with research institutions or universities on an interdisciplinary basis. Individual funding is not possible. The project result is expected to be a "proof of principle" of these technologies, i.e. a development stage up to "Technology Readiness Level" (TLR) 4.

Individual collaborative projects can receive up to 3 million euros. A total of 168 million euros is earmarked for Pathfinder projects in 2021.

Conditions for participation:

  • No thematic requirements
  • No individual funding possible. In Pathfinder Open projects, a consortium must consist of at least three independent institutions from three different EU Member States or Associated States.

Funding in Pathfinder Open:

  • Eligible activities:
    • Foundations for radically new future technologies;
    • Radically new approaches that challenge previous pathways;
    • Proof of concept;
    • Interdisciplinary research that opens up new avenues.
  • Goal: Long-term implementation of radically new technology concepts;
  • Funding rate: 100 % of eligible costs;
  • Business Acceleration Services (BAS): Free support measures such as coaching, mentoring, matchmaking activities - only for companies in the consortium.
  • During the course of the project, it is possible to receive an additional grant of 50,000 euros to carry out complementary activities with the aim of verifying the commercialisation of the idea.
  • Companies that have participated in successful Pathfinder projects are allowed to submit an EIC Accelerator application via the Fast Track scheme.

Budget

A total Budget of 168 million euros is available for the 2021 deadline.

Application procedure for Pathfinder Open

  • Applications with a maximum of 17 pages in English;
  • Evaluation: focus on Excellence (60%); in addition Implementation and Impact with 20% each;
  • One-stage application process.

Schedule

The schedule is designed so that the project can start about 8 months after the deadline:

Deadlines:

Applications can be submitted in Pathfinder Open on an ongoing basis. There will be a deadline in 2021 when applications received by then will be evaluated: 25 May 2021 (deadline: 17:00).

Pathfinder Challenges - Building Emerging Themes and Research Landscapes

Pathfinder Challenges promotes multidisciplinary, revolutionary and technological research to address social and industrial challenges. The aim of Pathfinder Challenges is to develop new technological topics and to initiate and build the necessary research landscapes. This is intended to feed these new technological thematic areas into the development of relevant research communities as well as industrial research agendas. Individual collaborative projects can receive up to 4 million euros. A total of 132 million euros is earmarked for 2021. The topics are predetermined:

  • Awareness inside – what is different when a system has awareness? What is the added-value of such an awareness, for instance in terms of performance, flexibility, acceptability or user-experience? This challenge seeks theoretical and technological answers to these questions, for instance from new concepts of awareness that are applicable to systems and technological artefacts alike, with implications for how it can be measured and engineered. This Challenge, if successful, will fundamentally alter the way we engage with technology.
  • Tools to measure and stimulate activity in brain tissue – This challenge seeks to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic technologies by exploiting the unique opportunities offered by recent technological progress (e.g. microelectronics or non-invasive imaging) in parallel with rapid advances in our understanding of how electrical signals in the central and peripheral nervous system relate to clinically impactful disorders.
  • Emerging technologies in cell and gene therapy (CGT) – Cell and Gene therapy is a fiercely competitive field that is full of challenges and obstacles. This Challenge aims to strengthen European consortia, start-ups and spinoffs to compete and sustain themselves at critical points on the way from discovery to manufacturing. It looks for new technological solutions and/or breakthrough concepts that go far beyond the current state-of-the-art. Both disease-specific and non-disease-specific proposals are welcome.
  • Novel routes to green hydrogen production – Green hydrogen will be essential for achieving Europe’s green ambition. This challenge aims at novel ways to produce green hydrogen at different scales (from small to large) and entirely based on renewable sources and non-toxic, non-critical raw materials. Solutions should also capture opportunities for cross sectorial coupling and system integration, and facilitate the implementation of circular economy principles, possibly with the co-production of decarbonised chemicals.
  • Engineered living materials – this challenge aims to harness the engineering potential of nature for materials’ production. It targets new technologies and platforms for the production of made-on-demand living materials with predictable dynamic functionalities, shapes and scales. Research teams that integrate synthetic biology, materials engineering, control engineering, artificial intelligence, synthetic or engineered morphogenesis as well as ethical, legal and social aspects are challenged to produce, in a controlled manner, a minimum of two different living materials (e.g. with different applications, scale and cellular composition).

Conditions of participation:

  • No thematic requirements.
  • No individual funding possible. In Pathfinder Open projects, a consortium must consist of at least three independent institutions from three different EU Member States or Associated States.

Funding in Pathfinder Challenges

  • Eligible activities:
    • New research ideas;
    • Building relevant research communities;
    • Development of industrial research agendas;
  • Aim: Building emerging themes and research landscapes;
  • Funding rate: 100% of the eligible costs.
  • Business Acceleration Services (BAS): Free support measures such as coaching, mentoring or matchmaking activities - only for companies in the consortium.

Budget

A total budget of 132 million euros is available for the 2021 deadline.

Application procedure for Pathfinder Challenges

  • Applications with a maximum of 25 pages in English;
  • Evaluation: focus on excellence (60%); in addition, implementation and impact with 20% each;
  • One-stage application process.

Schedule

The schedule is designed so that the project can start about 8 months after the deadline:

Deadlines:

Applications can be submitted in Pathfinder Challenges on an ongoing basis. There will be a deadline in 2021 when applications received by then will be assessed: 27 October 2021 (deadline: 17:00).

Do you have an idea for an EIC Pathfinder project? Contact BayFOR's Unit for SME advisory services:

Dipl.-Jur. Natalia García Mozo

Natalia García Mozo
Head of Unit SME Advisory Services
Phone: +49 (0)89 9901888-171
Email: mozo@no-spam-pleasebayfor.org

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