Pathfinder

Click to find the next Pathfinder project proposal call

Climate-KIC’s Ideator Programme gathers and focuses ideas for innovation that can help address climate change adaptation and mitigation. Pathfinder is one of a number of initiatives – including Climathon and Climate LaunchPad – which sit within the Ideator Programme.

What is Pathfinder? 

Aimed at Climate-KIC partners, Pathfinder projects help innovators test, refine and confirm assumptions about their innovation ideas, so that they are suitably developed to be applied and implemented.

The Pathfinder is designed to enable the collaboration of research and business stakeholders, who can bring their different perspectives together to ensure the innovation idea achieves real climate benefit and is a viable innovation proposition. They typically last between three to six months, and can receive funding from Climate-KIC up to a maximum grant of €50,000.

Why Apply?

Pathfinder is an opportunity for you to scope out and refine the feasibility of your early-stage innovation proposition. You can get support in putting together a network of partners, gain access to pre-existing networks, and test out the parameters of your proposition in a safe, de-risked environment.

Our network of partners includes organisations at the cutting edge of climate innovation, from academic and educational institutions to established businesses and start-ups. Successful applicants are able to share best practice with our wider network, and propel their innovations to maturity.

Eligible Applicants 

Applicants must have an innovation idea, which has been sufficiently refined into a marketable proposition. Pathfinder is targeted at Climate-KIC partners, but we welcome prospective applications from non-partner innovators. Please contact your local Climate-KIC innovation lead to see what support we can offer you. You can find contact details below.

Example Pathfinder Project:

Façade Leasing

Undertaking a Pathfinder with Climate-KIC encouraged key industry players to get on board with this circular economy pilot to develop the new ways of working that leasing facades requires.

Façade Leasing explored how the construction industry can work together to lease façades as a service based on energy efficiency or ventilation control. When façades are integrated into buildings with different technologies, they can vastly improve energy performance, making cost savings on energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions. When the business model changes from product sales to circular product-service-systems, then materials and resources can be recovered. But, in a competitive construction industry, with a large number of intermediaries, the challenge is to foster collaboration.

TU Delft applied to Climate-KIC’s Pathfinder programme in 2015. Getting a Climate-KIC Pathfinder grant was critical in getting the project off the ground, enabling the team to hire a dedicated researcher and spend time working with the supply chain, while getting industry parties interested in the proposals.


“Being awarded a grant from Climate-KIC sends a signal to the market and helps kick-start the trust process. In innovation, if you can cover that most risky part, that’s half the battle.”

Professor Tillmann Klein, Head of the Façade Research Group at TU Delft.

Click to find the next Pathfinder project proposal call

Contact your local Climate-KIC representative

Location Contact Name(s)
DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland): and
Nordics:
Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands):
Mediterranean (France, Spain, Italy):
UK and Ireland: