During our recent live Q&A webcast, the DNI Innovation Fund team answered as many of your questions about Round 4 as time allowed. We tried to answer those which are most often asked, but there were many others that came in which didn’t get the attention on the day.
We’ve taken some time to collect the best ten and answer them below. In addition there’s also plenty more help over at the FAQ section of our website.
- Question: I realized a really innovative editorial project, I would like to develop but I need funds to start it. I did not create a start up. I am a journalist who is now working for a publisher but I would like to develop this project by myself. The design logo is already registered. Could I get help developing this project?
Answer: The Prototype track (up to 50K) is open for individuals with innovative ideas for projects which can be funded up to 100%. It’s important that the project you put forward meets all the criteria which can be found here. Please do make sure you also read the DNI Innovation Fund Terms and Conditions carefully.
- Question: The DNI Innovation Fund Team mentioned that residence/registration of the applicant in the EU/EFTA is only required for the applicant, i.e. not the partners involved in collaborative projects. Would you consider for support from the DNI Fund a project in which the applicant for a collaborative project is a news organisation from the EU but the applicant partners with news organisations from completely different regions of the world?
Answer: It’s important we understand the difference between collaborators and contractors here. Collaborators are those organisations who are partners on the project, investing their time, expertise, money etc. They should be in the EU. Any split in the funding with collaborators would be down to the lead partner who will be responsible for the financial management of the contract. Contractors are simply people being employed to undertake specific pieces of work for the project and sub contracted by the recipient of the Funding. Because the Fund is intended to stimulate the European news ecosystem, we will judge all applications against the likely impact they would have in that region. While there's no hard rule against contracts existing outside the EU, it would obviously be preferable that work is carried out within the EU.
- Question: For large projects, with funding capped at €1.000.000, for which DNI will co-fund no more than 70% of the overall project cost: Does that mean DNI funding will go up to €1.000.000; OR should the project budget total €1.000.000, with 70% from the DNI at €700.000 and 30% from the grantee at €300.000?
Answer: The first scenario is correct. The maximum amount of DNI Funding you can apply for is 1M as the Fund is capped at 1M UNLESS you request that a special exception is made. This would be unprecedented but is allowed for in the rules, requiring a vote from the DNI Innovation Fund Council. You can see more on this at Clause 2 of the terms and conditions.
- Question: Are there any requirements for the organisational structure of the companies that apply for the DNI? And what about start-ups that are not founded at the time of application?
Answer: Companies need to be constituted according to the laws of the country they operate in. There’s more on the eligibility here. While it is fine for an application to be made ahead of a start-up being constituted, the process will need to be completed before any contract can be entered into.
- Question: What are the criteria for Large Versus Medium projects? Is it based on technology-readiness level at the point of application or scale of ambition for the project?
Answer: The size of the track relates only to the level of funding being requested and is not related to the readiness of technology or other stage. The funding tracks are as follows:
(a) up to (and including) €50,000: fast track for prototypes
(b) above €50,000 up to (and including) €300,000: medium track
(c) above €300,000 up to (and including) €1,000,000: large track.
- Question: What is your definition of a journalist? How do you verify it? Could someone be a journalist who is having a blog and working in a media company?
Answer: We don’t attempt to define what a journalist is. Preferred projects will be from applicants with a pre existing involvement in the news industry or that employ at least one professional journalist who can evidence a previous contribution to the news industry. Please see clause 4 of the terms and conditions for more.
- Question: Is it acceptable to apply as a solopreneur, personally, no team involved?
Answer: Individuals are very welcome to apply to the Prototype track.
- Question: For large or medium project, is it mandatory to be an organization with journalists or it is possible to be a technology pure player and having the publishers only as collaborators?
Answer: Preferred projects will be from applicants with a pre existing involvement in the news industry or that employ at least one professional journalist who can evidence a previous contribution to the news industry. Please see clause 4 of the terms and conditions for more.
- Question: Could DNI funding be used to cover expenses for travel related to field reporting (as opposed to travel for conferences)?
Answer: Travel expenses are not covered by the Fund. It doesn’t matter why the travel is undertaken, it is still not eligible. Please see clause 5 of the terms and conditions for more information.
- Question: Will there be round 5?
Answer: Yes, there will be further rounds announced in 2018.
Good luck with your application!