Who can apply?
- You’re a German resident, self-employed and paying German taxes. (German citizenship is not required.) ✓
- Your project is being published under an Open Source license. The code is publicly accessible, for example via GitHub or Bitbucket. ✓
- You’re a legal adult. ✓
What does the Prototype Fund offer?
- Up to €30,000 in funding over six months.
- Professional coaching in user-centered design and mentorship by our expert network.
- Media outreach through our network.
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.
Which kinds of projects can get funding?
- Civic Tech: building digital tools for citizens, e.g.
- New models or applications for creating, sharing and using (open) data
- Data visualization and storytelling
- Social engagement, transparency and citizen participation
- Data Literacy: apps for the use and analysis of (open) data; tools that promote the ability to read, create and communicate data.
- Data security: code that focuses on privacy, secure communications or data transmission and data minimisation.
- Software infrastructure: tools that enable and facilitate the operation of software like the above.
What is the focus of the second round?
The second round of the Prototype Fund calls for projects that show how code and software can strengthen civil society.
These could be tools that enable activists and organizations to mobilize their supporters, organize campaigns, collect information, and share knowledge. Or software that helps people to get new initiatives going, and to organize groups in an easier or more efficient way. And of course, this also includes tools that protect our privacy and enable secure communication. Some examples of these tools can be found in our blog (in German).
Please note: We will continue to support ideas in civic tech, data literacy, data security, and software infrastructure.
How complicated is the application process?
Not at all. Simply explain your project to us by answering seven short questions in our application form.
What does the schedule look like?
Each application period lasts 2 months. 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 starts with our Kick Off Workshop in Berlin on September 1, 2017, and all participants will be invited. After the kick off workshop, you can work on your projects for the next six months until our Demo Day on February 28, 2018, where we present all projects to the community.
From when till when can I apply?
There are four funding rounds consisting of 10 projects each.
- 1st round: 08-01-2016–09-30-2016
- 2nd round: 02-01-2017–03-31-2017
- 3rd round: 08-01-2017–09-30-2017
- 4th round: 02-01-2018–03-31-2018
Can I apply with a project that already exists?
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.
Who will assess my idea?
A jury of experts will evaluate and rate all submissions. You can find the jury of the first round here.
By what criteria will my project be evaluated?
The jury will pay particular attention to the following:
- Does the project belong in the field promoted by the Prototype Fund; does is perhaps address the focus topic of the round?
- Scope and social impact of the project – How many people benefit from your project?
- Innovation – How new and exciting is your idea?
- Realizability – Do you have the necessary skills to implement the idea, and is the idea realizable within 6 months?
Can I submit my proposal in English?
Unfortunately, no. We only accept applications in German as the program is funded by the German government.