We consider the Prototype Fund a prototype itself. The program is the first public funding program by a German Federal Ministry that specifically aims at freelance open source developers. We are continuously engaged in improving and adapting the program. After each funding term, we will conduct an evaluation for which we rely on your feedback in order to make the next term even better. We want to learn a lot, share our experiences with you, and help you achieve your plans and projects.
You can only apply in German.
Beyond offering the above, our goal is to grow a network of civic tech projects. During the project term, we’ll connect the participants with investors, potential partners and other support programs. Sustainability is very important to us and we want to help participants secure long-term support for their projects.
*This sum comes into effect with the 3rd round of applications.
The eight round has no focus topic.
Not at all. Simply explain your project to us by answering seven short questions in our application form.
Each application period lasts 2 months. The current/next application rounds are open from February 1 – March 31, 2019 and Aug 1 – Sept 30, 2019.
We will notify you 8 weeks after the deadline whether your application has been successful. Note that it might take us more time to give all the projects fair review if the number of applicants exceeds our expectations.
Once you’ve made it into the final round, we will work with you to file the required paperwork with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research during our application workshop.
The project term of our 5th round starts with our Kick Off Workshop in Berlin on March 1, 2019, and all participants will be invited. After the kick off workshop, you will work on your projects for the next six months until our Demo Day, where we present all projects to the community.
There are eight funding rounds.
Yes, you can. However, your proposal ought to be clearly defined and and have its own degree of novelty, e.g. you plan to expand or enhance your preexisting project with a new module. In any case, you need to make clear what you will be working on during the 6-month project term.
The jury will pay particular attention to the following:
Unfortunately, no. We only accept applications in German as the program is funded by the German government.
The maximum subsidy of 47,500 € is calculated on the basis of the total working hours of a full-time job for one person, i. e. 950 working hours at an hourly rate of max. 50 € for the entire subsidy period. If the hourly rate is to be higher, the number of hours must be reduced accordingly.
Teams name and price work packages which, when added together, must not exceed the maximum funding amount (see above).
Important: The stated number of hours must be in reasonable proportion to the project idea. Think in advance about the time you will need to invest in order to implement the proposed prototype. Realistic planning of the project scope is also one of the jury’s evaluation criteria.
All team members that receive funding through the Prototype Fund need to be German residents. Teams can apply as a “Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts”, which is a partnership under German civil law. The GbR always acts as the applicant. You decide on a project lead or team member to act as a director, who validly represents the GbR (and who also takes part in the application workshop and signs the application). We can provide you with a template for a GbR if you make it into the final round.
If you want to be funded as a team, you should state the different modules within the project, and assign them to the team members.
Each project will be funded for 6 months at most, and with a maximum amount of 47,500€. The amount of funding always amounts to 95% of the overall project budget. The remaining 5% are your own contribution – meaning the time that you spend on pursuing the project. Through other incomes (e.g. from an employment contract or other orders) and savings, you can prove that you are actually able to invest this time gratuitously.
It is important for us to be in active exchange with all projects. That’s why there are update calls every three weeks during the six months, short written updates every week and two more extensive interim meetings – either in person or by phone, depending on where you live. We ask all projects to take the exchange seriously, because this way we can deal with problems faster and help you if necessary.
You will then have to fill out a formal application, which we will help you with. Your submission will also be accepted as a so-called project description. If you get hints from the evaluation, you will incorporate them. There will also be a template for the project description.
In a second step, you will have to submit further evidence (e. g. tax assessment, declaration of exclusion of private insolvency, so-called de minimis certificate). You will receive detailed information on this when you are among the finalists.
The grant will be paid in instalments based on the work carried out at the beginning of each new quarter.
Example: The eligibility period starts on 01.03.2017, therefore you can call for funds at the beginning of the new quarter (in this case, in April) proportionately to the work you performed.
At the end of the 6-month project term we invite all teams to take part in a demo day, which serves to present results/prototypes and to discuss achievements, challenges, and problems. Aside from the teams, we also invite selected guests to take part. All projects will be featured on our website. During the project term we will connect you with mentors, sponsors, and other participants. As a part of the Prototype Fund network, you will remain closely connected to the program even after your project term has ended.
Apart from publishing your code in one of the repositories, you will need to write a short and clear project report that will be published as well.
Your project outline will receive comments during the assessment phase; if there is any other feedback on your project, we are happy to share it with you.
Business companies, universities, non-university research facilities and other institutions are not eligible for application.
Yes, you can.
Yes, provided that your estimated working hours allow for it.
No, you do not have to pay taxes (VAT) on the funding itself.