DNI Fund Frequently Asked Questions

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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

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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 current funding round opened 07 March 2017 and closes 20 April 2017. Further details will be announced via the Digital News Initiative website.

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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 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.

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.

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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 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 DNI Innovation Fund Terms & 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.