The DNI Innovation Fund

The Digital News Initiative (DNI) Innovation Fund has been created to support and stimulate innovation in digital news journalism. Applications are now closed, but there will be more opportunities to put your project forward for funding in the future.

The Fund Timeline
Don't forget these important dates

Round 3 application window is now closed.

We are here

Round 3 deadline at midnight (CEST)

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Round 3 council meeting

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Funded projects announced

  • 01
    Be prepared and keep it simple.
    Prepare and file your submission when the application window is announced. Take advantage of this time to document your application as thoroughly as possible.
  • 02
    Check that everything adds up.
    Make certain the budget information all adds up and check that references to financial elements made in the different sections are consistent.
  • 03
    Answer all sections.
    The assessors need as much relevant information as possible in order to come to a decision.
  • 04
    Eligibility requirements and FAQs.
    Before applying take a look through our FAQs and double check the eligibility requirements.

Applying to the DNI Fund

  • When can I apply?

    There will be at least two application rounds per year. The next round of funding will be later this year and announced at this website.

  • How can I apply?
    Only online applications in English will be considered. Please find more information on the Apply for funding page.
  • How best can I prepare?
    The application window lasts for six weeks. Take advantage of this time to document well your application.

Funding Tracks

All applications must meet all their eligibility requirements.
Small Prototype
Funding for Prototype Projects

OPEN TO: organisations, individuals, and organisations comprised of one individual.

These applications require up to €50k of funding. The projects should be very early stage. Their ideas cannot have been designed, and their assumptions cannot have been tested. We will fast-track such projects, and will fund up to 100% of the total cost. 

Medium Prototype
Funding for Medium Projects

OPEN TO: organisations.

These applications require up to €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project.

Large Prototype
Funding for Large Projects

OPEN TO: organisations, preferably with at least one journalist on the team. 

These applications require more than €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project. Funding is capped at €1m. Exceptions to the €1m cap are possible and include: 

Large projects that are collaborative (e.g., international, sector-wide, involving multiple organisations) and projects that significantly benefit the broad news ecosystem. 


Innovation Fund

Round 1
Round 2
Round 1

DNI Fund Frequently Asked Questions

01.

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Who is eligible to apply to the DNI Innovation Fund?
The DNI Innovation Fund is open to for-profit organisations, non-profit organisations and individuals that aim to produce original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem. Established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia, national or international associations, companies and individuals are all eligible to apply. Incorporated organisations must be incorporated in the EU or EFTA. Unincorporated organisations must be registered in the EU or EFTA (or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business there). Individuals must be EU or EFTA residents.

Eligible countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia , Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

02.

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What are the selection criteria?
Projects will be evaluated against three main criteria: 

  • Impact on the news ecosystem: Preferred projects will demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the production of original journalism, the creation of new revenue streams or even change the way people consume digital news.
  • Innovation / use of technology: Preferred projects will use technology in innovative ways and be transformative for the applicant and for users. 
  • Feasibility: Preferred projects will have a sound business plan, clearly outline key performance indicators or metrics, and set out key risks and how to mitigate them.

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When can I apply?

There will be at least two application rounds per year. The last funding round opened 07 March 2017 and closed 20 April 2017. The next round of funding will open later this year.

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How can I apply?

Only online applications in English will be considered. Please see the Prototype project application - Round 3 and the Medium and Large project application - Round 3

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How can I best prepare my submission?

The latest application window is now closed. For future reference, the application window lasts for six weeks. Take advantage of this time to document your application as thoroughly as possible. All eligible applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed, so there’s no need to rush into filling in the online form.

Please take the time to consult and do research on opportunities and investment requirements, brainstorm with your team and prepare the draft responses. When you are ready, please go to the online form and submit the application, as it cannot be saved for later revision. If you need additional information, please contact us at dnifund@google.com

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What information is required for my application?

In order to assess the projects, the Project Team will need information such as:

Company/individual information

Location, URL, number of employees, number of journalists

Project description

Project budget and amount of funding requested

Key indicators to measure the impact of the project

Monetisation plan fundamentals

As set out in the DNI Innovation Fund Terms & Conditions we require that applicants do not submit to us any Highly Confidential Information or Business Sensitive Information (as those terms are defined in the Application Terms and Conditions).

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What if I want to work with others on a collaboration?

Collaborative applications with other industry players are very welcome. You can find more information on how to make a collaborative application in the DNI Innovation Fund Terms & Conditions.

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Where can I read a full copy of the terms and conditions?

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How does the selection process work?

Initial selection of projects will be done by a Project Team, composed of a mix of experienced industry figures and Google staff, who will review all applications for eligibility, innovation and impact. They’ll approve Prototype funding applications, and make recommendations about the Medium and Large projects to the Fund’s Council. 

Please see the Rules of Governance.

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Will every application be reviewed?

Yes, we will review all eligible applications received by the application deadline. 

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How can I contact the DNI Project Team?

If you would like to contact the team please email dnifund@google.com. 

During the assessment process, applicants may be asked to provide additional details about their project, including through interviews and/or the submission of further supporting documents. 

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How many applications can I submit per round?

Each applicant may only submit one application per round and we will not consider multiple applications in respect of the same project. For organisations that are part of a larger group or holding structure, we are unlikely to fund more than 3 projects per group or holding per application round. Organisation groups are therefore encouraged to focus their applications on top priority projects.

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What will you do with the information I submit?

A limited number of people from the Project Team will have access to the responses that applicants provide. They will only use the responses to assess the projects.


Members of the Council will be provided with an executive summary for each project, with no right to share any of the information they receive outside of the Council.


Please see the Application Terms and Conditions for further detail on how we will treat information that you provide to us. As set out in the Application Terms and Conditions, we require that applicants do not submit to us any Highly Confidential Information or Business Sensitive Information (as those terms are defined in the Application Terms and Conditions).



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Are there spending limitations?

Funding may not be spent on: General and overhead costs such as office rental, furniture and travel expenses; costs and expenses connected with registering, protecting, defending or monetising any intellectual property rights you may have (or that you may obtain through registration). This includes payments to any personnel engaged in such activities, or expenses or liabilities incurred before the date on which the parties enter into a Funding Agreement.

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Which expenses are eligible?

Eligible expenses include editorial costs (e.g. on staff or freelance employees), asset creation costs (such as licenses), engineering costs (e.g. product development, project management, user experience design, database build and maintenance, and hosting) and marketing expenses. Please note marketing expenses will only be covered up to 20% of the total funding awarded.

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What is a Highly Confidential Information and Business Sensitive Information?
Business Sensitive Information is confidential information which, if disclosed, would provide your competitors with a competitive advantage over you.

Highly Confidential Information is confidential information that is highly sensitive and, if disclosed, would cause substantial harm to you.

Please see the Application Terms and Conditions for further information on this.

As the owner of your project, you are the best judge on what information is Business Sensitive or Highly Confidential.  However, if you are in any doubt about this then we recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

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If the project is not selected, can I learn more about why?

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications expected, the Project Team is unable to provide personalised feedback on each proposal at this time.