The jury focuses particularly on the following criteria in its evaluation:
- Is your project in line with the Prototype Fund’s thematic focus? In order to meet our criteria, your project needs to be of public interest, which is defined by the key parameters “relevance”, “social-digital approach”, ” reach” and “making and keeping innovation accessible”.
- Degree of innovation: How innovative is your project from a scientific, social or technological perspective?
- Feasibility: Do you have the necessary skills and can the idea be implemented within 6 months? Are both the technical implementation and the overall project plan comprehensibly described?
- Reach and social value of the project: How many people will benefit from your project?
- How are the chances of success to be assessed? Success does not only consist of making money with your project. But it’s good if you know the market and existing products, are familiar with them and able to integrate yourself into the existing software ecosystem.
- Preventing double funding: Is or has the basic idea of the project already been funded elsewhere or is a similar product already available with open source code?
Furthermore, in order to receive funding, it is mandatory that the software is open source. We firmly believe that sharing ideas opens up new opportunities for projects and collaborations and we want to ensure that funded projects can be maintained and developed in the future.
Here is some concrete advice to the question: What should your application look like?
You do not have to be a professional in application writing to convince the jury. There are a few ways to communicate an idea in a convincing way with little effort.
Be straightforward. Summarize your ideas in a clear and concise manner. The Prototype Fund aims to make it easy for you to apply for funding, and we appreciate it if you make it easy for the jury to review your ideas.
Be clear. Our jury consists of experts – but they not be experts in your exact field. Please write your application in a way that is understandable to people who are not working on your project.
Show that you are active. Is some of your work already visible on your GitHub or Bitbucket account? We would like to see that.
Show that your project thematically fits the Prototype Fund. Your project should fall within one of the four main topics: civic tech, data literacy, data security and software infrastructure. By the way, we have written a couple of blog posts about civic tech (in German).
Be concrete. Tell us clearly and concisely which issues you want to address. It is helpful to know on what basis you are working – or what your hypotheses are based on – so please include references and sources!
Be solution-oriented. Of course you have thought of solutions to the issues you want to solve. Make sure to clearly specify the technical means you want to use to reach this goal.
Make sure your project is compliant with the law. If you want to work with existing datasets, you should explain where you can get the data from and that you are allowed to use it.
Be realistic. Think about how much time you will be working on the project within the six-month funding period and calculate your working hours accordingly. Please also remember that only a maximum of 10 working hours per day can be estimated.
Plan your steps ahead. In the project schedule you have to indicate which work steps you want to complete in the six-month funding period and how much time you plan to spend on each of them. You don’t need to figure out all the details here, but rather provide a plausible estimate of the milestones and next steps.
Use the two-person rule. Show your application to someone else before submitting. This will help you to improve it and avoid spelling mistakes.