About IJ4EU

  • IJ4EU (Investigative Journalism for Europe) is a fund for cross-border investigative journalism in the EU. We provide grants to teams of journalists or news organisations in Europe investigating topics of public interest.

    IJ4EU’s mission is to strengthen the watchdog role of investigative journalism in Europe. Its focus on supporting cross-border projects acknowledges the increasingly transnational nature of public-interest stories.

    Its purpose is to foster and strengthen collaboration among EU-based journalists and newsrooms through providing them with grant funding, coaching, training, expert support and networking opportunities. It also seeks to raise the value of and incentivise quality investigative journalism through launching a new award.

    IJ4EU was first set up as a pilot programme in 2018. It was relaunched in 2020 and is back for a third year in 2021.

  • Our core activity is providing grants to cross-border investigative journalism. In 2018, our pilot year, we provided €350,000 in grants to 12 different investigative projects. In 2020, we provided €1.07 million in direct funding to cross-border investigative projects through two programmes: the Investigation Support Sche and the Publication Support Scheme.

    In 2021, IJ4EU will disburse €1.1 million, again through two schemes. The Investigation Support Scheme remains mostly unchanged. We have transformed the Publication Support Scheme into the Freelancer Support Scheme, addressing the unique needs of freelance journalists.

    IJ4EU also organises support to grantees through training, mentoring, legal counselling, editorial support, advocacy support and other practical support and guidance to grantees, to enhance skills development and ensure the success of the individual projects and teams, and of the IJ4EU project overall. The Freelancer Support Scheme comes with an extra cushion of tailored support for grantees.

    In 2020, we launched a new monetary prize for cross-border investigative journalism in Europe, which was open to all journalists, not just those who received an IJ4EU grant. Winners of the inaugural IJ4EU Impact Award were announced in April 2021. Nominations for the next award will open in late 2021.

    IJ4EU also organises the #UNCOVERED conference on European cross-border investigative journalism. The first edition took place in January 2019 in Berlin and the second edition was held online in April 2021. The conference highlights work done under the IJ4EU fund and serves as a platform to discuss issues and trends as well as challenges to collaborative cross-border investigative journalism.

  • The IJ4EU fund is managed by a consortium of three organisations: the International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC), and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).

    IPI, based in Vienna, is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, coordinates the overall work of the consortium and manages the Investigation Support Scheme.

    EJC, an international non-profit that connects journalists with new ideas, skills and people through grants, events, training and media development, manages the Freelancer Support Scheme. The EJC is headquartered in the Netherlands.

    ECPMF, an organisation that promotes, preserves and defends media freedom by monitoring violations, manages the IJ4EU Impact Award and the #UNCOVERED conference. It also runs a small legal contingency fund for grantees. ECPMF is based in Leipzig, Germany.

    The consortium works on a collaborative model, with all three partners providing input and expertise to all IJ4EU activities.

  • From a mix of public and private donors. The IJ4EU fund is supported with funding from the European Commission (DG Connect) via a Preparatory Action. In 2020, it was also supported by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Program on Independent Journalism of the Open Society Foundations, a grant from Fritt Ord, a grant from Luminate and a grant from the City of Leipzig. Partnerships for 2021 will be announced as they are confirmed.

  • All funds provided by donors are managed by a consortium of independent organisations (IPI, EJC and ECPMF) dedicated to the protection of press freedom and independent journalism. No donor is permitted to exert influence over the selection of grantees or their work. Furthermore, IJ4EU is committed to protecting the editorial independence of all grantees.

    All grants under the Investigation Support Scheme and Freelancer Support Scheme are awarded by independent juries of experts based on a transparent set of criteria. An independent jury also selects winners of the IJ4EU Impact Award. No representative of any donor or IJ4EU project partner (including IPI, EJC or ECPMF) is allowed to sit on any jury.

  • In 2021, there are two types of grants available: the Investigation Support Scheme and the Freelancer Support Scheme.

  • Because public-interest stories are increasingly transnational. The subjects tackled by investigative journalism don’t stop at national borders. Some of the biggest investigative scoops in recent years, such as the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, are the product of teams of journalists working around the globe.

Grant eligibilty and applying (for both schemes)

  • The Freelancer Support Scheme provides grants for cross-border investigative projects carried out by teams made up exclusively of freelance journalists. The Investigation Support Scheme provides grants for all other investigative projects.

    In practice, this means that teams applying to the Investigation Support Scheme must include at least one news outlet, investigative journalism organisation or NGO that carries out journalistic work, or a staff member of one of these.

    The Investigation Support Scheme is managed by the International Press Institute (IPI). The Freelancer Support Scheme is run by the European Journalism Centre (EJC).

    If you are still not sure which scheme is best suited for your project, contact IPI or EJC and we will try to help you assess.

  • For the Investigation Support Scheme, there will be two calls (rounds of funding) in 2021. The first call will open in June and the second call will open in September. In both cases, applicants will have six weeks to submit their proposals.

    For the Freelancer Support Scheme, there will be a single call in 2021. It will open in June to coincide with the first call of the Investigation Support Scheme. Applicants will have six weeks to submit their proposals.

  • All applications must be submitted in English via our secure Good Grants platform. Further details will follow shortly.

    Good Grants is a free-to-use secure platform for submission and storage. It is ISO/IEC 27001 certified and GDPR compliant, and has multi-factor authentication, encrypted data, multi-tier backups and a secure multi-server architecture in VPC.

    After you have read the full eligibility and application information, following these steps to apply (valid for both funding schemes):

    1. Designate among your team a lead application. (For the Investigation Support Scheme, this could be either an organisation or an individual.)
    2. Access the Good Grants platform via the link provided when calls are announced.
    3. The lead applicant will need to create a personal user account to ensure that the application can be submitted securely and so as not to jeopardise the proposed investigation or those involved.
    4. Once your account is created, log in and select the grant you wish to apply for.
    5. Fill out the application following any instructions on the IJ4EU website. Applicants can save the application form and return to it until they have completed it and are ready to submit.
    6. When you are finished, submit your application. You will receive a confirmation email. Once the application is submitted, it can no longer be edited.

    Only applications received via the Good Grants platform in English by the stated date and time will be considered. If you have difficulties, contact us.

  • No. All applications must be submitted through the Good Grants platform. This is also in the best interest of applicants for data and privacy protection reasons.

  • IJ4EU takes the data security of applicants and grantees very seriously. All grant applications are submitted and stored via the Good Grants platform. Good Grants is a secure platform for submission and storage. It is ISO/IEC 27001 certified and GDPR compliant, and multi-factor authentication, encrypted data, multi-tier backups and a secure multi-server architecture in VPC. Each applicant team will be asked to create a personal user account to ensure that applications can be submitted securely so as not to jeopardise the proposed investigation or those involved. The review of applications by jury members also takes place on God Grants, removing the need for further data transfer.

  • We welcome journalists based in countries that are currently official candidates for EU membership: Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. However, they must be part of cross-border teams with members based in at least two EU member states (or one EU member state plus Britain).

  • Teams based entirely in EU candidate countries are not eligible (see the previous question).

  • Yes, it is possible for journalists or news organisations from outside the EU and EU candidate countries to participate in the projects and benefit from grant funding under the following conditions:

    • Their involvement should not form a too substantial part of the investigation;
    • Their involvement must be necessary and relevant for the investigation;
    • They are not the lead applicant; and
    • The rest of the team already fulfils the basic geographic criteria.

    In addition, keep in mind that the spirit of the grant is to support investigative journalism in the European Union and on topics of relevance to EU citizens. Therefore, projects involving journalists or media organisations outside the EU/candidate countries should ensure that the topic of their project remains directly relevant for EU audiences.

    If you have doubts, please contact IPI or EJC. We will give you our best assessment. Keep in mind that the final decision will always be made by the independent juries.

  • See above. It is possible to investigate an issue that has relevance or ramifications outside the EU, so long as the investigation remains directly relevant for EU audiences. The investigation can (partially) take place outside the EU so long as doing so is necessary and relevant.

    To see examples of previously funded projects that were partially conducted outside of EU countries or on issues relevant to other regions, see here and here.

    The final decision on whether a project sufficiently fulfils the spirit of promoting investigative journalism in the EU on topics of relevance for the EU public lies with the independent expert juries.

  • Yes. For the purposes of the 2021 IJ4EU programme, UK-based journalists and news organisations are eligible to take part on the same terms as their counterparts in EU countries, even though Britain has left the EU. The reason is that funding for the current programme comes from the previous EU multi-annual budget, which Britain contributed to.

  • The importance of investigative journalism is amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the spread of the virus and the measures to contain it present unique challenges to cross-border investigative journalism. Here’s how the IJ4EU fund is responding.

    First, as the IJ4EU fund is open to any topic, investigative projects related to COVID-19 are also eligible for funding under both funding schemes, provided that they meet the application requirements.

    Second, given the mobility and travel restrictions in place in many countries, as well as the particularly fast-changing news environment, we strongly encourage all applicants to plan and present their projects with this situation in mind. In terms of the application, this means that you should provide brief information on how you expect to be able to carry out your project in view of such possible restrictions and how you plan to adapt to any changes. It also means that you should ensure your project still has newsworthiness when published.

    Third, we understand the unusual problems that the pandemic presents. While teams should outline risks and adaptations to them in their grant applications, it is understood that there is a need for increased flexibility, including as relates to project changes and publication deadlines, and this will be taken into account by the organisations managing the grants and the jury.

    Nevertheless, all teams must undertake best efforts to publish by the deadline and to keep us up-to-date with your efforts to complete the investigation and publish.

  • The IJ4EU grant can cover all costs necessary for the production of journalistic content. This can include:

    • Staff, salary and human resource costs. This applies to employed journalists, editors and other content-related staff at media organisations as well as freelancers and consultants.
    • Research-related costs.
    • Costs for the acquisition or development of technical tools (e.g., software) relevant to investigative journalism.
    • Travel costs.
    • Administrative costs, such as communications costs, rent and office costs and accountancy costs.
    • Translation costs.
    • Expected legal costs/fees. (The IJ4EU legal contingency fund is limited to unexpected legal costs as a result of investigations.)

    Exceptions: The IJ4EU grant cannot cover costs for standard equipment such as computers or video equipment. In general, costs incurred before the signing of the grant agreement are not eligible. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis for costs incurred after the date on which the call for applications was opened.

    Please note that all costs will be assessed according to need and proportionality. Your budget should be realistic, necessary and reflect the project description.

  • Yes. Co-funding, either through self-funding or through another donor, is allowed and encouraged.

  • Please see our contact page.

Investigation Support Scheme

  • For the Investigation Support Scheme, there will be two calls (rounds of funding) in 2021. The first call will open in June and the second call will open in September. In both cases, applicants will have six weeks to submit their proposals.

  • Yes. Even if your project is not selected for funding under the first call, you may apply again for the second call.

  • Yes. There are no restrictions on the number of applications that may be submitted, either per call or over subsequent calls.

  • Yes. Journalists who apply as team members in more than one project should ensure that their working time is realistically allocated and does not add up to more than 100 percent full-time equivalent.

  • All grants are decided by an independent jury of experts.

    The jury chair for 2021 will be announced shortly. The names of the remaining jury members will not be revealed at least until the 2021 grant cycle is completed.

    The jury makes its decisions based on a set of transparent criteria. Jury members are required to recuse themselves in case of any conflict of interest.

    No representative of any donor or IJ4EU project partner (including IPI, EJC or ECPMF) is allowed to sit on the jury or otherwise exert influence over the selection of grantees.

  • Applicants are encouraged to use the Investigation Support budget template (download here). However, this is not strictly required. If you previously prepared a budget in a different format as part of a separate request for funding, you may use that budget instead.

  • The letter of intent is a confirmation of interest from a news organisation or platform in publishing your investigation. Having such a letter reinforces the relevance of your proposal. It is not a commitment either on the side of the media organisation or the investigative team. The letter should state that the news organisation intends to consider running your investigation based on the current proposal. It should be signed by a representative of the news organisation.

  • We aim to let successful applicants know as soon as the independent jury has made its decision, typically several weeks after the deadline for applications closes.

  • Publication deadlines for both calls of the Investigation Support Scheme will be announced soon.

    We expect grantees to fulfil the core publication requirements by this time. Publication may, of course, continue beyond this deadline.

    We understand that investigative journalism is an unpredictable enterprise, especially given the ongoing public health situation. Therefore, grant agreements will require that successful teams make every reasonable effort to have their work published by the deadline stated, or to inform IPI as soon as there are indications that these requirements cannot be met. The lead representatives of selected projects will be expected to stay in regular contact with IPI on the progress of investigative work and immediately communicate any (major) unexpected delays.

IJ4EU Impact Award

  • The IJ4EU Impact Award honours cross-border investigative journalism in Europe with three cash prizes of €5,000 each. It encourages innovative storytelling by journalists working collaboratively across frontiers in EU member states and EU candidate countries.

  • The IJ4EU Impact Award is managed by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). It is also supported by International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Journalism Centre (EJC).  

  • All nominations must be submitted in English via our secure Good Grants platform (link to be announced).

    Good Grants is a free-to-use secure platform for submission and storage. It is ISO/IEC 27001 certified and GDPR compliant, and has multi-factor authentication, encrypted data, multi-tier backups and a secure multi-server architecture in VPC.

    After you have read the full eligibility and nomination information, follow these steps to make a nomination:

    • Access the God Grants application via the link provided.
    • Each submitter will need to create a personal user account to ensure that the nomination can be submitted securely and so as not to jeopardise those involved.
    • Once your account is created, log in and select IJ4EU Impact Award.
    • Fill out the nomination form following any instructions on the IJ4EU website. You can save the nomination form and return to it until you have completed it and are ready to submit.
    • When you are finished, submit your nomination. You will receive a confirmation email. Once the application is submitted, it can no longer be edited.

    Only nominations received via the God Grants platform in English by the stated date and time will be considered. If you have difficulties, contact us at impact-award@ecpmf.eu.

  • No. Any cross-border journalistic project can be nominated as long as it meets the eligibility criteria.

  • Yes. You can nominate your own cross-border investigative project if it fulfills the application requirements.

  • Yes. You can nominate any cross-border investigative project that fulfills the application requirements.

  • No. All nominations must be submitted through our Good Grants platform. This is in the best interest of nominations for reasons of data security and privacy protection.

  • Yes.

  • IJ4EU takes the data security of applicants and nominations very seriously. All IJ4EU Impact Award nominations are submitted and stored via the Good Grants platform. God rants is a secure platform for submission and storage. It is ISO/IEC 27001 certified and GDPR compliant, and multi-factor authentication, encrypted data, multi-tier backups and a secure multi-server architecture in VPC. Each person making a nomination will be asked to create a personal user account to ensure that the nomination can be submitted securely. The review of nominations by an independent IJ4EU Impact Award jury also takes place on Good Grants, removing the need for further data transfer

  • All nominations must involve at least one journalist or news organisation from an EU member state.

  • Yes. The IJ4EU Impact Award is open to nominations from all EU member states as well as the countries that are currently official candidates for EU membership: Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. However, all teams must involve at least one journalist or news organisation from an EU member state.

  • In 2021, British journalists and news organisations are still eligible for the inaugural award. However, they will not eligible for future awards due to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

  • Nominated projects need to show cross-border relevance in at least two countries (at least one of which must be an EU member state).

  • Yes, it is possible for journalists or news organisations from outside the EU and EU candidate countries to be nominated under the following conditions:

    • Their involvement should not have been too substantial in the investigation;
    • Their involvement had to be necessary and relevant for the investigation;
    • They were not the lead of the investigation; and
    • The rest of the team already fulfilled the basic geographic criteria.

    In addition, keep in mind that the spirit of the IJ4EU Impact Award is to support and feature investigative journalism in the European Union and on topics of relevance to EU citizens. Therefore, projects involving journalists or media organisations outside the EU/candidate countries should ensure that the topic of their project was directly relevant for EU audiences.

    If you have doubts, please contact ECPMF at impact-award@ecpmf.eu. We will give you our best pre-assessment. Keep in mind that the final decision will always be made by an independent jury.

  • See above. It is possible to investigate an issue that has relevance or ramifications outside the EU/candidate countries, so long as the investigation remains directly relevant for EU audiences. The investigation can (partially) take place outside of EU/candidate countries so long as doing so is necessary and relevant.

    To see examples of previous funded projects that were partially conducted outside the EU/candidate countries or on issues relevant to other regions, see here and here.

    The final decision on whether a project sufficiently fulfills the spirit of promoting investigative journalism in the EU on topics of relevance for the EU public lies with the independent jury.

  • Please contact the ECPMF at impact-award@ecpmf.eu.