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 €47,500 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.
*This sum comes into effect with the 3rd round of applications.
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 current round?
In addition to the areas of civic tech, data literacy, data security, and software infrastructure, we choose focus areas for the funding rounds. The 7th round focusses on the relationship between Technology, Society & Trust: “Engineering Trust”.
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. The current application round is open from 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 7th round starts with a Kick Off Workshop in Berlin on March 1, 2020, 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.
From when till when can I apply?
There are eight funding rounds.
- 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
- 5th round: 01-08-2018–30-09-2018
- 6th round: 01-02-2019–31-03-2019
- 7th round: 01-08-2019–30-09-2019
- 8th round: 01-02-2020–31-03-2020
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 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.