Round 5 of DNI Fund: Applications are now open


The DNI Fund application window is now open until 9 April 2018 (23:59 CEST). Apply now for funding!


Round 5 now open
Written by
The DNI Fund

Since its introduction, the Digital News Innovation Fund, has offered more than €90 million to more than 460 ambitious projects in digital journalism, across 29 countries. The fund, our €150 million commitment to supporting innovation in the European news industry, is designed to provide no-strings-attached funding  to those in the news industry looking for some room — and budget — to experiment. Today we are thrilled to open the DNI Innovation Fund for a fifth round of applications. This season’s application window will be open for the next four weeks, ending April 9 (23:59 CEST).

New for Round 5: Diversifying Revenue Streams and Innovative Monetisation Ideas

As with Round 4, all Medium and Large track applications will need to demonstrate that they have a monetisation component within the idea to be eligible. These projects should provide clear indicators showing the potential to create economic value added for the business.

We know there is opportunity outside of the well-known approaches around paywalls. In Round 5 we’re looking for more innovative approaches and want to welcome a range of experimental and innovative ideas which diversify revenue streams.

Prototype projects don’t have the monetisation requirement and remain, as in previous rounds, all about innovation. 

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 fifth round of funding is April 9, 2018 at 23.59 CEST.

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 by mid July of this year - and look forward to receiving your applications here!