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PATHFINDER Identification and Selection

Key characteristics of PATHFINDER fields and topics

PATHFINDER topics are emerging research areas selected on the basis of their scientific importance and potential long term contribution to the EU�s competitiveness and science base, while taking into account the relevance and timeliness of the topics themselves.

In brief, PATHFINDER topics should respond to the following key considerations (selection criteria):

  • "Emerging " - NEST is looking for new areas of research.


  • " Interdisciplinary " - Research at the interfaces and boundaries of established research areas.


  • " Timely " - Why should action be taken now?


  • " Appropriate scope " - Topic should make sense in terms of funding available (typically ~10 Mio. Euro per topic/year)


  • " High impact " - Return on investment should be as high as possible


  • " Science driven " - NEST research needs to respond to recent scientific results or opportunities


Identifying promising PATHFINDER fields and topics

Under the PATHFINDER activity in NEST, research areas or topics are identified on an annual basis leading to focussed calls. This topic selection is carried out by the Commission in collaboration with scientific experts and the scientific community at large, including review and analysis of ongoing activities, i.e.:

  • The NEST-OPEN projects received to date


  • Ideas received from the scientific community, e.g. through the NEST Ideas Inbox


  • Recent and current high level scientific discussion meetings and European Networking activities.


  • Recent relevant European Science Foundation activities.


  • Relevant current activities of other research programmes in and outside the EU


  • Outcome of Scientific Foresight activities.


  • The experience of the NEST PATHFINDER initiative to date




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