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Tips for Applying to the EIC Pathfinder: Understanding High Risk and Game-Changing Opportunities

Applying for research grants can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to high-risk, high-gain opportunities like the EIC Pathfinder. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of the EIC Pathfinder, the importance of understanding high-risk opportunities, and some tips for making a successful application. Whether you’re new to researching or a seasoned pro, this post will provide valuable insights into securing funding for high-impact projects.

Understanding High-Risk and High-Gain in EIC Pathfinder

EIC Pathfinder Open is a highly competitive funding program that seeks to support groundbreaking, innovative projects that are expected to have a high impact on European research and development. Among the core conditions that a successful proposal must fulfill, high-risk/high-gain is the most prominent yet counterintuitive requirement.

So, what exactly is high-risk/high-gain in EIC Pathfinder Open? In simple terms, it means that the expected gain of a project must be so high that it is worth the significant risk and potential failure taken to obtain the expected results. This is a counterintuitive approach since it is not common in many EU grants, except in the case of the ERC funding scheme.

When it comes to EIC Pathfinder Open projects, identifying and mitigating risk can be highly challenging and bring forth significant scientific uncertainty and unpredictability. To decipher the high-risk concept, we recommend breaking it down into two key dimensions: Operational vs. conceptual risk and feasibility of the proposed scientific approach.

Operational risk refers to the risk associated with the project’s feasibility in terms of achieving the proposed objectives. On the other hand, conceptual risk refers to the risk associated with the novelty of the approach taken to solve the problem at hand. It is essential to strike a balance between both operational and conceptual risks as it affects the evaluation of the proposal.

Feasibility is a crucial factor to consider while mitigating high-risk in EIC Pathfinder Open projects. It is essential to achieve high-risk while still considering the feasibility of the proposed scientific approach. A highly risky project may imply that feasibility is low, and vice versa high feasibility is perceived to diminish the risk. High-risk and feasibility do not necessarily have to contradict one another in EIC Pathfinder Open projects. Therefore, proposals should set highly ambitious objectives, describe the steps to be taken to reduce the likeliness of failure, and rely on the leadership, ability, and competence of the consortium members.

In summary, to achieve the high-risk/high-gain requirement in EIC Pathfinder Open, a proposal should have a risk-mitigating scientific approach that balances operational and conceptual risks. It should be ambitious, still maintaining the feasibility of the proposed scientific approach. The consortium must possess diverse innovative expertise, allocated resources efficiently and execute the plan appropriately. Successfully meeting these requirements can lead to high-gain rewards, positioning European research and development at the fore front of groundbreaking and innovative research.

Tips for Applying to EIC Pathfinder

Now that we have a better understanding of the EIC Pathfinder program, let us dive into some tips that can help you create a successful application. The following highlights important factors to consider when submitting your proposal.

Selecting Suitable Calls and Proposals

While you may have a brilliant idea, it is important to select the right call that aligns with your projects objectives. To increase your chances of winning the grant, evaluate each calls requirements, themes, and eligibility criteria carefully. Create a shortlist of calls and compare them to your project s goals and values. Once you have identified the suitable call, prepare your proposal within its guidelines.

Creating an Innovative Proposal

Innovation is at the core of EIC Pathfinder, so remember to craft a proposal that is both novel and groundbreaking. Consider the feasibility of your project, its tangible contributions to society and its impact. To stand out from other proposals, your project must be ambitious, scalable, and have the potential for high-risk and high- gain. You can also add a personalized touch by bringing your unique approach, voice, and personality to the proposal.

Consortium Building

A strong, diverse, and capable consortium is key to a successful EIC Pathfinder proposal. The consortium should have members that complement each others strengths and weaknesses. Having a clear division of responsibilities and roles among team members, a history of collaboration, and achievements in your respective field significantly improves your chances of winning the grant. It is important to build an excellent consortium that lays a strong foundation for your projects success.

Pre-Submission and Submission Process

Before submitting your proposal, ensure that you have completed all sections and adhered to the guidelines. Your proposal should be grammatically correct, concise, and easy to read. It is also crucial to present a robust and realistic work plan that outlines clear objectives, milestones, and deliverables. Once you have submitted your proposal, it is important to track its status and get any feedback from the reviewers.

In conclusion, applying for EIC Pathfinder can be a long and challenging process, but it can be exciting and rewarding in the end. By following these tips, you can make the most of this grant opportunity and make your proposal stand out. Remember to highlight your projects uniqueness and communicate your passion for innovation through a clearly written proposal and consortium.

ERC and EIC Pathfinder Open: Commonalities and Overlaps

Understanding the commonalities and overlaps between ERC and EIC Pathfinder Open is crucial for maximizing the chances of a successful application. While there are several differences between these two funding schemes, they share many important features that applicants should consider and leverage.

The first key point to note is the link between ERC and EIC Pathfinder Open. As previously mentioned, both grants have high-risk/high-gain components and are specifically designed to support innovative and groundbreaking research. The emphasis on risk-taking and scientific excellence is what sets these funding schemes apart from other, more traditional funding opportunities.

Given the similarities between ERC and EIC Pathfinder Open, applicants can optimize their upcoming EIC Pathfinder Open application by drawing lessons from previous ERC experiences. For example, ERC reviewers value the following qualities in an applicant: scientific expertise and track record, innovative ideas, feasibility and a well-designed research plan, and a strong and diverse research team. These same qualities are equally important for a competitive EIC Pathfinder Open application.

However, it is equally important to be aware of the key differences between ERC and EIC Pathfinder Open. While ERC has a strict individual-based application process, EIC Pathfinder Open requires a consortium of at least three different legal entities. Additionally, while EIC Pathfinder Open includes all fields of research and innovation, ERC focuses mainly on basic and frontier research in science, engineering, and scholarship. Finally, ERC is specifically designed for individual researchers and their projects, whereas EIC Pathfinder Open has a broader scope that includes interdisciplinary research and innovation.

In conclusion, understanding the commonalities and differences between ERC and EIC Pathfinder Open is key to a successful grant application. By leveraging the strengths of both programs, applicants can maximize their chances of success and bring groundbreaking and innovative research to the forefront.


To wrap up, understanding the concept of high-risk and high-gain is crucial when applying for the EIC Pathfinder grant. It is important to aim for ambitious objectives while still having a feasible and risk-mitigating scientific approach. By applying these tips, innovative and impactful projects have the potential to succeed.

How Linq can help with EIC Pathfinder

The dedicated experts at Linq Consulting are available to assist with EIC proposals at every stage of the writing and application process. With our expertise in grants management, we can help you secure funding from the EIC Pathfinder, as well as any other grant opportunities that may be available. Whether you represent a large organization or run a small business, Linq Consulting will help locate funding opportunities and secure funding for your project.

Get in touch with us today, if you or your organization would like to secure available funding set aside for sustainability research and development. Contact us at

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