user prototype


The call for proposals has ended. Round 6 opens in early 2019.

We fund Public Interest Tech.

3 Mio






The Prototype Fund supports ideas in civic tech, data literacy, data security, and software infrastructure. With a grant of up to €47.500, software developers, hackers, and creatives can write code and develop innovative open source prototypes over a period of six months.

Theme focus* of round 5:

Letting machines learn

Technologies for the future

New technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are on everyone’s lips – but mostly not in our hands. With the focus of the 5th CfA we want to encourage more people to participate in shaping these new technologies and have a stake in our future.

We want to find out what opportunities new technological developments offer to society. How much of this hype is righteous, what are the risks, how can we gain a better insight into the emergence of technologies and influence this process?
Artificial intelligence is an example of the challenges we face in the verge of tomorrow’s technologies: The development of intelligent systems is only accessible to a few people and companies because the technologies are highly specialized. The amount of data needed to train the machines is oftenowned by large corporations and platforms. The development of new technologies and intelligent systems is often directed towards industry or embedded in the theoretical framework of unviersities.
To ensure that emerging technologies reflect social reality and do not discriminate against people, we need to incorporate a wide range of experience and expertise into their development. We also aim to better understand what exactly we are talking about when we say AI and demystify technology.
We therefore especially encourage software projects to apply, which deal with the following questions as part of their conceptual and practical work:

  • Which social topics can be better explored and addressed with the help of machine learning, and how?
  • How can new technologies help us address (and reduce) existing injustice instead of reinforcing it?
  • Explaining and understanding new technologies: How do Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence work? What are the challenges, myths and opportunities?
  • We are not seeking to apply new technologies to random problems, but instead ro examine developments and fields of application in detail and placing people and their needs at the centre of technical development. In a blog post we have collected projects and ideas that illustrate our main topic.

    Don’t worry, projects outside this focus can also be supported if they are in the areas of digital infrastructure, data security, data literacy or civic tech.


    Prototype Fund is funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Education of Germany.

    Our goal is to support code for all and strengthen the open source community in Germany. In true open source spirit, we want to pave the way for innovation for everyone.

    Applications are open to individuals and small teams who live in Germany. You can apply for funding in eight application rounds from 2016 through 2020. The next application period will start on Aug 1, 2018.

    The projects we currently support can be found here.

    Who can apply?

    Self-employed developers and small teams who live in Germany can apply for funding.


    Each project is backed with a maximum of 47,500€, coaching from experienced mentors, and collaboration within an exciting network. From 2016 through 2020, there will be eight funding rounds. Each round, we can support up to 25 innovative open source projects.

    Time frame

    You have 6 months to implement your idea from the first concept to a prototype.

    Open Source

    Your results must be made publicly available under an open source license.


    Logo: Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
    Logo: Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland