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DNI Innovation Fund: Calling all news innovators across Europe

In February, we shared the first 128 recipients of the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund, our €150 million commitment over the next three years to supporting innovation in the European news industry, and we’re excited to see those projects get underway this summer. Today, we’re thrilled to open the Fund for a second round of applications which will be accepted through July 11th.

The goal of the Fund is simple, if ambitious: to spark new thinking, which could come from anywhere in the news ecosystem, to give news organizations - of all sizes - the space to try some new things with no-strings-attached awards.

The Digital News Initiative, which began as a partnership between Google and a small handful of European news organizations, has grown into an ecosystem of more than 150 now working together to support high quality journalism through technology and innovation, including the open-sourced Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. Today in Germany, France, Russia, Italy and the U.K., the AMP carousel will appear in Google News searches on mobile devices, making the mobile news experience even quicker. The DNI is open to anyone involved in Europe’s digital news industry, large or small, established or newcomer. We were blown away by the number of applications we received last fall--when more than 1,000 projects from 30 European countries were submitted for review. This season’s application round will be open for the next six weeks, ending 11th July.  Additional details can be found on the DNI Fund website. 

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Here’s a quick reminder of how the Fund works: 

Projects 

We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism; that support the development of new business models, or maybe even change the way users consume digital news. Projects can be highly experimental, but must have well-defined goals and have a significant digital component. There is no requirement to use any Google products. Successful projects will show innovation and have a positive impact on the production of original digital journalism and on the future sustainability of the news business. 

Eligibility 

The Fund is open to established publishers, online-only players, news start-ups, collaborative partnerships and individuals based in the EU and EFTA countries. 

Funding 

There are three categories of funding available:

  • Prototype projects: open to organizations - and to individuals - that meet the eligibility criteria, and require up to €50k of funding. These projects should be very early stage, with ideas yet to be designed and assumptions yet to be tested. We will fast-track such projects and will fund 100% of the total cost.
  • Medium projects: open to organizations that meet the eligibility criteria and require up to €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project.
  • Large projects: open to organizations that meet the eligibility criteria and require more than €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project. Funding is capped at €1 million.

    Exceptions to the €1 million cap are possible for large projects that are collaborative (e.g., international, sector-wide, involving multiple organizations) or that significantly benefit the broad news ecosystem. 

    How to apply 

    Visit the Digital News Initiative website for full details, including eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, and application forms. Applications must be made in English and the submission deadline for the first round of funding is 11th July 2016. 

    Governance 

    We’ve consulted widely to ensure that the Fund has inclusive and transparent application and selection processes. Confidentiality is critical; applicants should not share business-sensitive or highly confidential information. Full details can be found on the DNI website. 

    Initial selection of projects will be done by a Project team, composed of a mix of experienced industry figures and Google staff, who will review all applications for eligibility, innovation and impact. They’ll make recommendations on funding for Prototype and Medium projects to the Fund’s Council, which will have oversight of the Fund’s selection process. The Council will vote on Large projects. 

    Council members:

    • Joao Palmeiro, President of the Portuguese publishers association and Chair of the DNI Innovation Fund Council
    • Alexander Asseily, Founder & CEO of State, Founder of Jawbone
    • Arianna Ciccone, Co-Founder and Director of the Perugia International Journalism Festival
    • Bartosz Hojka, CEO of Agora S.A.
    • Katharina Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer, Mozilla
    • Veit Dengler, CEO, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
    • Rosalia Lloret, Head of Institutional Relations, Online Publishers’ Association Europe
    • Bruno Patino, Dean of Sciences-Po Journalism School
    • Murdoch MacLennan, CEO of the Telegraph Media Group
    • Madhav Chinnappa, Head of Strategic Relations, News and Publishers, Google
    • Torsten Schuppe, Director of Marketing EMEA, Google
    • Ronan Harris, Vice President, Google

    We will announce the next recipients of these awards before the winter holidays. We look forward to receiving your applications