The Prototype Fund is the first low-threshold funding program for people in Germany who develop innovative open source software. We support software developers, designers and other creatives in transforming their ideas from a concept into a software prototype. Whether data security, mobility, education or democracy – together we explore and test new ways for technical and social innovations as open source software from society and for society.
Users are not only consumers of software but often also experts: We use this intersection and offer tech-savvy civil society access to the resources and processes needed to contribute to the common good. Funding is provided for public interest technologies, i.e. technologies with added social value that focus on the needs of users and are freely available, sustainably accessible and customizable as open source software. Within this, the four funding priorities are civic tech, data literacy, data security and software infrastructure.
We will support software projects in a total of 16 funding rounds until 2025. The projects selected by a jury of experts and approved by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research will receive up to €47,500 in funding from the BMBF over a period of six months, as well as coaching, advice and networking opportunities. The relatively short funding period and low funding amounts enable the prototypical testing of ideas.