Round 6 of DNI Fund: Applications are now open

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The DNI Fund application window is now open until December 3 (23:59 CEST). Apply now for funding!

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Round 5 now open
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The DNI Fund

Today we are thrilled to open the Google Digital News Innovation Fund (DNI Fund) for a sixth, and final, round of applications. Since its introduction, the DNI Fund, has offered more than €115 million to more than 559 ambitious projects in digital journalism, across 30 countries. The Fund, our €150 million commitment to supporting innovation in the European news industry, is part of The Google News Initiative, our effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age. It is designed to provide no-strings-attached funding  to those in the news industry looking for some room — and budget — to experiment. This season’s application window will be open for the next six weeks, ending December 3 (23:59 CEST).

The DNI Fund supports those in the news industry looking to experiment, to help secure the future for quality journalism. We’re on the lookout for great ideas and welcome any brillant plan for which applicants, especially new ones, need some time, space and budget to bring it to life.  

Why are we doing this? Because at Google, we know from experience that the biggest, boldest ideas often start small and require nurturing. Through the DNI Fund, we want to give new approaches the freedom to grow - and hopefully to soar.

Focusing on monetisation and diversification of revenue streams

For this final round of funding, the driving theme for Medium and Large projects will be “monetisation and diversification”.

We’re looking for innovative approaches that seek to create sustainable models for news, whether that’s diversification of revenue streams, creative applications of technology to save costs, all aspects of reader revenue (eg: subscriptions, memberships, contributions etc) or new ways of thinking around monetisation through products and user engagement. If your project falls under this category (Medium and Large), you’ll need to make sure your proposal is accompanied by clearly identified monetisation opportunities. (Note that if your project pertains to the prototype track, you don’t need to worry about this requirement and remain focused on innovation only.)

And if you’ve got a great idea but want to bring more partners on board to make it bigger and better, we’d really welcome your application. Collaboration remains a key issue for success.

Check out how previous applicants have used funds to help journalists collaborate at scale across borders, create open-source software that enables independent journalism to thrive or used VR to help others combat their own empathy-walls. There’s lots more information about the application process, FAQs, eligibility requirements, Fund governance and outlines of previously funded projects on the site.

A quick reminder of how the Fund works

What does a ‘project’ mean?

We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism; that support the development of new business models, or maybe even change the way users consume digital news. Projects can be highly experimental, but must have well-defined goals and have a significant digital component. There is absolutely no requirement to use any Google products. Successful projects will show innovation and have a positive impact on the production of original digital journalism and on the long-term sustainability of the news business.

What type of projects are eligible for funding?

The Fund is open to established publishers, online-only players, news startups, collaborative partnerships and individuals based in the EU and EFTA countries. The following are examples of projects that are not eligible for funding:

  • Projects that are limited to the creation or publication of content without a specific innovative component (for example, projects relating to news coverage only or projects merely translating news content into other languages)
  • Upgrades of legacy publishing systems
  • Projects that relate to simply collating or listing data (for example, the publication of job listings or stock exchange data, or the re-publication of newswires articles)
  • Projects on training or education only
  • Projects in the Medium or Large tracks which do not have any monetisation component

How much funding can I apply for?

There are three categories of funding available:

  1. Prototype projects: open to organizations—and to individuals—that meet the eligibility criteria, and require up to €50k of funding. These projects should be very early stage, with ideas yet to be designed and assumptions yet to be tested. We will fast-track such projects and will fund 100 percent of the total cost.
  2. Medium projects: open to organizations that meet the eligibility criteria and require up to €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70 percent of the total cost of the project. Important: All medium applications need to include a clearly defined monetisation component.
  3. Large projects: open to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and require more than €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70 percent of the total cost of the project. Funding is capped at €1 million. All large applications need to include a clearly defined monetisation component.

Exceptions to the €1 million cap are possible for large projects that are collaborative (e.g., international, sector-wide, involving multiple organizations) or that significantly benefit the broad news ecosystem.

How to apply?

Read the DNI Fund website for full details, including eligibility criteria, frequently asked questions, terms and conditions, and application forms. Applications must be made in English and the submission deadline for the sixth round of funding is December 3, 2018 at 23.59 CEST.

The application forms can be accessed below. In order to assess the projects, the Project Team will need information including:

  1. Company/individual information
  2.  Location, URL, number of employees, number of journalists
  3.  Project description
  4.  Project budget and amount of funding requested
  5.  Key indicators to measure the impact of the project
  6.  Monetisation details  showing the potential of the project to create economic value added for the business.  (Large and Medium applications only)
  7. A slideshow of, ideally, 10 slides or fewer which should address at least the following:                                         

          1. Introduction

          2. Team

          3. Problem

          4. Solution

          5. Product

          6. Target Market

          7. Competition

          8. Business Model & opportunities

          9. Appendix

          10. Contact

This slideshow should be sent by email to dnifund@google.com. Please ensure the application number is added in the email subject line.

Apply now

New approaches have never been more needed so it’s time to experiment, innovate and try something new. We’re ready and waiting to help you bring your ideas to reality.

We’ll announce the next funding recipients in early 2019 - and look forward to receiving your applications here!

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