The EIC Pathfinder programme funds research to develop the scientific basis to underpin breakthrough technologies. The EIC Pathfinder programme that supports research teams to research or develop an emerging breakthrough technology, consists of a combination of both open and challenge driven funding. Which are the differences?

EIC Pathfinder Open 

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. In particular, the EIC Open funidng is based bottom-up approach with no predefined topics.

EIC Pathfinder Challenges

EIC Pathfinder funding is based on top-down challenge-driven calls for tackling specific technology and breakthroughs. In 2023 these Challenges are: 


Clean and efficient cooling

The supported projects shall individually provide proof of concepts for unconventional approaches (at materials, component, process or device level) that can convincingly impact the energy consumption, emission reduction and cost reduction of the cooling sector. The portfolio of supported projects should contribute to one or more of the following medium to long-term impacts:

·        Increase the EU technological leadership in the cooling sector and in strategic productive fields strongly linked to cold production (such as food),

·        Improve building comfort and health in living environment,

·        Increase operational security of server and computing facilities,

·        Reduce carbon footprint of energy systems and address climate change mitigation,

·        Address climate change adaptation (in particular in semi-desert areas) and food security, including possibilities of international outreach,

·        Reduce EU dependency from, and diversify EU sourcing of, critical materials supply.


Architecture, Engineering and Construction digitalisation for a novel triad of design, fabrication and materials.

Projects must clearly achieve a proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of the breakthrough technology. The development and expression of techno-economic views on geometric and economic scalability of the technology itself, coupled with an entrepreneurial path towards commercialisation and future adoption by the AEC value chain are strongly encouraged.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate interdisciplinary and collaborative processes to create critical interactions between disciplines, economic sectors, and other partners with relevant skills as appropriate. The overall goal is to support the formation of new partnerships with innovative approaches and unique solutions that foster new R&I communities and ecosystems to nurture long term changes in the AEC sector.

Expected adjacent impacts of this AEC Pathfinder Challenge are also to inspire an ambition for the AEC sector to create higher quality jobs in a more progressive and appealing business culture that is ready to deliver a transformation of the built environment in line with the European Green Deal and the New European Bauhaus.


Precision nutrition 

Understanding and establishing relationships between diet and the pathology of Food-related Health Conditions and Noncommunicable Chronic Diseaseswould enable the prevention and alleviation of the consequences of FrHCs and NCDs on health and well-being through changes in diet. This is foreseen through the evidence-based upgrade of the current dietary guidelines. In the long run, it is expected that project results will be the basis for the development of novel foods and processes which might decrease the incidence of FrHCs and NCDs among the general population, and a better quality of life for the individuals affected by these conditions.



Responsible Electronics

This Challenge is expected to contribute to the development of materials with new properties or replacing materials used in current electronic devices with materials, which:

·         reduce dependency on critical raw materials,

·         are sustainable: having a low environmental footprint and developed recurring to the life cycle thinking approach.

The overall outcome of this Challenge is to support the move from traditional materials and manufacturing processes to less environmental impactful ones. It is expected that the Challenge will lead to the development of lab-scale validated proof of concept devices based on the developed innovative materials and manufacturing processes, which may represent a potential application of a more sustainable, trusted and secure electronics.


In-space solar energy harvesting for innovative space applications


This Challenge aims at developing and as such make related impacts in:

·         Design and laboratory validation of concepts to develop technologies for energy harvesting in space e.g. in-space utilisation of this energy for transportation and other related research and innovation activities, in particular for cleaning space debris;

·         Development and laboratory validation of breakthrough technologies for wireless power transmission of energy, e.g. through power grid, for energy beam pointing and control;

·         Development of eco-friendly and innovative green propulsion solutions for in-space applications (e.g., spacecraft orbital corrections, in orbit satellite servicing, active debris removal, end-of-life services, etc.) addressing the barriers to the use of in-space solar energy for innovative propulsion.

·         Use of innovative in-space robotic solutions for in-space manufacturing and assembly of space-based solar units.



EIC Pathfinder Open 2023

Total budgetProposals (indicative)Funding rateOpeningDeadlineLength of the proposal
€179.5 milionUp to €3 milion100% eligible costs10th January 20237th March 202217 pages proposal

EIC Pathfinder Challenges 2023

Total budgetProposals (indicative)Funding rateOpeningDeadlineLength of the proposal
€163.5 millionUp to €4 million100% of eligible costs20th June 202318th October 202325 pages proposal