Round 3 of DNI Fund applications are now open.


The next DNI Fund application window is now open . The fund window will be open until 20 April 2017.


Written by
The DNI Fund

Here's a short summary of application types received by the DNI team in the past, and the ways in which many recipients benefitted from the Fund.

Round 1 - Applications

  • 226 Large, 255 Medium, 755 Prototype, Overall 1236
  • Funded: Prototype: 33 (15% of submitted); Medium: 36 (14% of submitted), Large: 59 (8% of submitted) €3M Overall: 128 (10%)

Round 2 - Applications

  • 163 Large, 242 Medium, 453 Prototype, Overall 858
  • Funded: Prototype 30 (18% of submitted); Medium: 36 (15% of submitted); Large: 58 (13% of submitted); Overall 124 (15%)

We held a Questions & Answers session last year to help with submissions

We hope this is helpful

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 who aim to produce original journalism and enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content. Individual projects may 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.


What does a ‘project’ mean?

We’re looking for specific 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 experimental, but must be measurable with well-defined goals. They should have a significant digital component (but there is 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 future sustainability of the news business.

For how much funding can I apply?

Funding is available for projects in three categories

  • Prototype Projects: open to organisations, individuals, and organisations comprised of one individual 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 up to 100% of the total cost.
  • Medium Projects: open to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and require up to €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project.
  • 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% of the total cost of the project. Funding is capped at €1 million.*

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

What if I want to work with others on a collaborative project?

Collaborative applications with other industry players are very welcome. You can find more information on how to make a collaborative application on the Apply for Funding page.

What is the selection criteria?

Projects will be evaluated against three main qualifiers:

  • 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 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 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.

Which expenses are eligible?

Eligible expenses include editorial costs (for instance, on staff or freelance employees), asset creation cost (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.

Funding may not be spent on general and overhead costs such as office rental, furniture and travel expenses, among others.


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 members, 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.

Find out who’s in the Project Team and the Council by clicking here.

Please find the DNI Fund Rules of Governance here.

Will every application be reviewed?

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

How can I contact the Project Team?

If you have a question please email us. 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.

We've included the blog post for some additional information. 

Digital News Initiative Fund: Experiment, Innovate, Invent