EIC Pathfinder Challenge: DNA-based digital data storage


Programme Category

EU Competitive Programmes

Programme Name

Horizon Europe (2021-2027)

Programme Description

Horizon Europe is the European Union (EU) funding programme for the period 2021 – 2027, which targets the sectors of research and innovation. The programme’s budget is around € 95.5 billion, of which € 5.4 billion is from NextGenerationEU to stimulate recovery and strengthen the EU’s resilience in the future, and € 4.5 billion is additional aid.

Programme Details

Identifier Code



EIC Pathfinder Challenge: DNA-based digital data storage


This EIC Pathfinder Challenge is to explore scalable and reliable high-throughput approaches for using DNA as a general data-storage medium. Solutions would thus need to address the read/write/edit operations of digital data in synthetic DNA, capturing the expected advantages of high density and stability/longevity of this form of data storage. The use of DNA sequences as chassis for non-standard forms of information coding, or of other polymeric substrates and related coding/decoding techniques are also in scope, provided they entail at least similar benefits than stateof-the-art DNA approaches. Proposed techniques should deliver qualitative advances in key parameters such as throughput, DNA-length (well above a few hundred mers), reliability (coupling efficiency), speed and cost. Beyond the usual storage applications, there is also scope for radically different scenarios for such a technology, for instance for data-processing, in-vivo sensing or fingerprinting.

Applications submitted to this Challenge, must pay particular attention to the relevant bio-safety and ethical issues.

Detailed Call Description

Specific objectives

The following specific objectives for this Challenge have been defined:

  • new approaches for coding, decoding, modification or computational use of digital data in synthetic DNA or other sequence-controllable polymers with quantitative targets (theoretical and technological);
  • Proof-of-Concept of technical feasibility with indications of at least state of the art benefits and major operational characteristics (e.g., extreme densities, longevity, stability) and going well beyond for some of them (e.g., speed, cost, accuracy);
  • end-to-end scenarios of use, be it for data storage (archival, but also shorter term storage) or other purposes (like sensing, cryptography or computation) that exploit the benefits of the technology.

Expected outcomes and impacts

Proposals should contribute to achieving one or several of the following:

  • a range of new techniques with clear benefits and steps towards widening scope of applicability of DNA-based data storage;
  • broader range of scenarios and uses for DNA-based data technologies;
  • emergence and anchoring of a European innovation eco-system on DNA-based data technologies and applications, including through involvement of relevant partners and end-users;
  • contribution to standardisation in the field and benchmarks to gauche progress.

Call Total Budget

€167 000 000

Financing percentage by EU or other bodies / Level of Subsidy or Loan

The total indicative budget of the present call is € 167 000 000 which is expected to be allocated in approximately equal shares across the challenges. The EIC considers proposals with an EU contribution of up to € 4 000 000 as appropriate.

The funding rate of this grant will be 100% of the eligible costs.

In addition to funding, projects will receive tailor-made access to a wide range of Business Acceleration Services.

Thematic Categories

  • Health
  • Information Technology
  • Research, Technological Development and Innovation

Eligibility for Participation

  • Associations
  • Central Government
  • Chambers
  • International Organisations
  • Large Enterprises
  • Legal Entities
  • Local Authorities
  • Local Authority clusters
  • NGOs
  • Non Profit Organisations
  • Researchers/Research Centers/Institutions
  • Semi-governmental organisations
  • Services Providers
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • State-owned Enterprises

Eligibility For Participation Notes

Proposals for this Challenge can be submitted by single applicants or by consortia, as dictated by the activities to be performed.

Call Opening Date


Call Closing Date


National Contact Point(s)

Research and Innovation Foundation
29a Andrea Michalakopoulou, 1075 Nicosia
Phone Number: +357 22205000
Email Address: support@research.org.cy
Website: https://www.research.org.cy/en/

Contact Persons:
Charalambos Papatryfonos, Scientific Officer
Contact Phone: +357 22 205 016
Contact Email: cpapatryfonos@research.org.cy

Marinos Photiades, Scientific Officer
Contact Phone: +357 22 205 048
Contact Email: mphotiades@research.org.cy