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Details of calls for funding from the European Innovation Council published recently, hold out the chance of fresh funding for universities to support breakthrough research and innovation and new technologies.

Universities will be one of the main beneficiaries of the EIC’s 2022 work programme, adopted on 9 February and part of Horizon Europe. The EIC Pathfinder scheme offers grants for science-towards-technology breakthrough research, while EIC Transition provides funding for validating a new technology and developing the business case to bring it to market.

In both cases, the majority of funding will be awarded through open calls with no predefined thematic priorities. Known as Open Funding, it is designed to enable support for any technologies and for innovations that cuts across different scientific, technological, sectoral or application fields or represent new combinations.

A second type of funding – challenge-driven calls – will support specific technological and innovation breakthroughs. In 2022, the EIC Pathfinder Challenges will address the following six areas: carbon dioxide and nitrogen management and valorisation; mid to long term and systems-integrated energy storage; cardiogenomics; healthcare continuum technologies; DNA-based digital data storage; and alternative quantum information processing, communication and sensing. The EIC Transition Challenges will provide funding for projects targeting green digital devices for the future; process and system integration of clean energy technologies; and RNA-based therapies and diagnostics for complex or rare genetic diseases.

The majority of calls will open in March and will be available here. Please see the table below for a summary of the indicative budget and call deadlines.


Who can apply

What for

Open calls

Challenge-driven calls

Call opening date Call deadline Indicative budget (€ million) Call opening date Call deadline Indicative budget (€ million)
EIC Pathfinder Consortia of at least three different independent legal entities (e.g. research organisations, universities, SMEs, industry) established in at least three different eligible countries. Additionally, single applicants or small consortia (two partners) for EIC Pathfinder Challenges only. Grants of up to €3 million (open) or €4 million (challenge-driven) (or more if properly justified) to achieve the proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of breakthrough technology (TRL 1-4). 1 March 2022 4 May 2022 183 15 June 2022 19 October 2022 167
EIC Transition Single applicants (SMEs, spin-offs, start-ups, research organisations, universities) or small consortia (two partners) or consortia of three to five different independent legal entities established in at least three different eligible countries. Proposals must build on results from eligible EIC Pathfinder, FET or ERC Proof of Concept projects. Grants of up to €2.5 million (or more if properly justified) to validate and demonstrate technology in application-relevant environment (TRL 4 to 5/6) and develop market readiness. 1 March 2022 cut-off dates: 4 May and 28 September 70.9 1 March 2022 cut-off dates: 4 May and 28 September 60.5

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