This last call of European Innovation Council (EIC) ‘Pathfinder Open’ Pilot has represented the highest-ever budget (€191 million), number of selected projects (58) and number of applications (902) with the aim of transforming high-risk, high-impact research ideas into novel technologies.
Among the ideas supported in this round we mention just a few examples:
• Developing a multiple-stage analytical platform based on multi-dimensional mass spectrometry instrumentation able to perform direct and instant detection of intact virus particles in breath and in water as for instance of COVID-19;
• Merging novel wireless communication, neuroscience, bionics, Artificial Intelligence and sensing to create for the first time a battery-free high-speed wireless in-body communication platform for Brain-Machine-Body connectivity;
• Creating a radically new concept for converting low grade waste heat into electricity by exploiting the electrode/electrolyte contact area of capacitors;
• Combining synthetic biology, 3D printing, and photonics to develop a radically new technological concept termed optogenetic volumetric bioprinting;
• Generating the first prototype of a novel laboratory sensor based on individual atoms, greatly reduced in size and cost, and made more robust and more suitable for industrialization;
• Creation of a prototype technology to extend or compress human subjective time able to, directly or indirectly, influence each of our subjective time;
• The fusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deep sub-micron CMOS technology opening a new generation of wireless transceivers that will go beyond connecting people or things to connecting smart robots;
• Creation of a new science and technology that turns low-tech concrete and cement-based materials into high-tech functional photonic metamaterials;
• Designing a new type of urbanisation in which nature and humans can co-evolve within the city. The new concept is based on an integrated ecosystem approach to architecture that focuses equally on humans, plants, animals, and associated organisms;
• Conceptualizing a new science and technology of edible robots and robotic food that could deliver lifesaving nutrition to humans and animals in emergency sit
The highest number of successful projects come from Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Switzerland, with almost 30% led by female researchers and 26% classed as ‘green technologies’ set to support the objectives of the European Green Deal.
As well as a share of the €191 million budget, the selected projects will receive access to business acceleration support and coaching services. Following the success of the EIC pilot phase (2018–20), the fully-fledged EIC is expected to be launched early next year under Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme, with increased funding for breakthrough technologies.