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 fourth year in 2022.

  • Our core activity is providing grants to cross-border investigative journalism. To date, the IJ4EU fund has disbursed more than €2.5 million in grants to high-impact, cross-border projects.

    In 2022/23, IJ4EU will allocate an additional €1.23 million in grants, through two well-established schemes. The Investigation Support Scheme is for teams of any configuration. The Freelancer Support Scheme addresses the unique needs of freelance journalists.

    IJ4EU also organises support to grantees through training, mentoring, legal counselling, editorial support, advocacy support and other practical assistance 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 is open to all journalists, not just those who received an IJ4EU grant. Nominations for the next award will open in late 2022.

    IJ4EU also organises the UNCOVERED Conference on European cross-border investigative journalism. The first edition took place in January 2019 in Berlin, the second edition was held online in April 2021 and the third edition took place in Berlin in April 2022. 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 next UNCOVERED Conference will take place in the autumn of 2023.

  • 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. It 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 Maastricht 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 core funding from the European Commission (DG Connect) via a Preparatory Action. The programme also is also supported by co-financing from Open Society Foundations, Fritt Ord, Fondation Nicolas Puech and the City of Leipzig.

  • 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 2022/23, 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 Pegasus 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 whose members operate predominantly outside of newsroom structures. In addition to money, it offers a cushion of tailored assistance in the form of mentoring and training.

    The Investigation Support Scheme is open to journalistic teams of any kind that mainly need financing to carry out their investigations.

    The Freelancer Support Scheme offers grants of up to €20,000, plus bespoke mentoring and support throughout the lifecycle of the project.

    The Investigation Support Scheme offers grants of up to €50,000, but without the extra layers of tailored support offered by the Freelancer Support Scheme.

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

  • For both the Investigation Support Scheme and the Freelancer Support Scheme, two calls (rounds of funding) will be held simultaneously in 2022/23.

    The first call for both schemes opens on September 1, 2022. Teams will have six weeks to put their applications together from the launch of the call.

    The second call for both schemes will be in January 2023. Again, applicants will have six weeks to submit proposals.

  • All applications must be submitted in English via our secure Good Grants platform.

    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 this link.
    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 Good Grants, removing the need for further data transfer.

  • We welcome journalists based in countries that are official candidates for EU membership: Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. However, they must be part of cross-border teams with at least one member based in an EU member state.

  • Teams based entirely in EU candidate countries are not eligible (see the previous question). At least one member of the team needs to be based in an EU member state.

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

    • Their involvement should not form too substantial a 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 relevant 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 to 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 to EU audiences. The investigation can (partially) take place outside the EU so long as doing so is necessary and relevant.

    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.

  • In the 2022/23 edition of IJ4EU, the United Kingdom will no longer be treated as equivalent to EU member states. Instead, it will be like any third country elsewhere in the world. UK-based journalists and news organisations are welcome to take part as long as they are members of teams that satisfy the core geographical eligibility explained above.

    In previous editions of the IJ4EU programme, UK-based journalists and news organisations were eligible to take part on the same terms as their counterparts in EU countries, even though Britain had left the EU. The reason was that funding for those editions came from an EU multi-annual budget that Britain had contributed to.

  • 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, databases) 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 such as for routine pre-publication legal screening. (The IJ4EU legal contingency fund is limited to unexpected legal costs as a result of investigations, so such expected costs should be built into the budget.)

    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.

  • Upon awarding the grants and the signing of grant agreements with the awarded teams, there will be an announcement on the IJ4EU website and other channels of communication. It will include the number of awarded grants, the grant amounts and other general information for the purposes of transparency. The identity of individual team members and the topics of the projects will not be disclosed, unless specifically requested by the teams themselves. Any public announcements before the end of the investigations will be coordinated with the teams.

    Every project funded by IJ4EU will have a dedicated project page after the team has completed the investigation and after it has been published. The information that will be available on the IJ4EU website will be coordinated with and approved by the teams.

    You can see examples of previously funded investigations in our projects section.

  • The implementing partner will transfer the grant in instalments to the lead applicant’s bank/building society account in euros. The lead applicant is then responsible for the distribution of funds to the other team members, in accordance with the project application form and budget.

    In the case of the Investigation Support Scheme, the implementing partner is the International Press Institute. In the case of the Freelancer Support Scheme, it is the European Journalism Centre.

  • Yes. The lead applicant needs to have a bank/building society account that can receive international payments from the EU.

    The International Press Institute and the European Journalism Centre will not be responsible for changes in exchange rates nor for any fees incurred by the lead applicant’s banks.

  • For the Investigation Support Scheme, please contact Milica Miletic at mmiletic[at]ipi.media.

    For the Freelancer Support Scheme, please contact Zlatina Siderova at siderova[at]ejc.net.

Investigation Support Scheme

  • The Investigation Support Scheme will have two calls (rounds of funding) in 2022/23. These calls will be held simultaneously with calls for the Freelancer Support Scheme.

    The launch of the first call will be on September 1, 2022. Applicants will have six weeks to complete their proposals.

    The second call will be in January 2023. Again, the deadline for applications will be six weeks later.

  • 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. See our jury section for more information.

    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 are six months from the point of receiving the grant, or at the latest by:

    •  May 30, 2023 for the first cohort
    •  September 30, 2023 for the second.

    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.

Freelancer Support Scheme

  • To be eligible for the Freelancer Support Scheme, applications must be submitted by teams composed predominantly of freelance journalists that meet the following criteria:

    • They must be based in at least two EU member states, OR…
    • They must be based in at least one EU member state and one official EU candidate country (Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey or Ukraine).
    • Third-country team members from further afield are welcome to take part, but they must be part of teams that fulfil the core geographical criteria described above. In other words, they must be part of teams with members based in at least two EU member states or at least one EU member state and one EU candidate country.

    In addition:

    • They must be collaborating on a topic of cross-border relevance, and
    • They must be signed up to a press regulator, journalists’ union, trust initiative, or part of a press association, or have current CVs/online portfolios that demonstrate relevant qualifications or a history of working with trusted news organisations.
  • A freelance journalist is considered to be based in the country where they have a registered address. Citizenship or nationality is not relevant.

  • Yes. The Freelancer Support Scheme is designed for journalists primarily operating outside newsroom structures who may be underserved by other journalism support schemes and are willing and able to collaborate with others to launch new investigations of importance to audiences at a local, national, regional or European level. However, collaborations between freelance journalists and (part-time) staff journalists working on the project outside their newsroom, are also eligible.

  • If you or any of your collaborators are not registered with one of these types of associations or initiatives, then write ‘No’ in the relevant field in the application form AND briefly explain why. For example, ‘No, because there is no such association or initiative in the country where I am/x team member is based.’

    We will take into account the reasons why you or your collaborators are not signed up to one of these types of associations or initiatives when we review your application. Where team members are not signed up to such regulators/associations, CVs and online portfolios of work will be used to assess if applicants have a history of working with trusted news organisations.

  • Yes. There are no restrictions on the number of applications that may be submitted. The independent jury’s decision for the selection of projects will be based entirely on the selection criteria and an attempt to ensure geographical and thematic balance.

  • Yes, there are no restrictions. However, journalists who apply as team members in more than one project should ensure that there is no conflict of interest across the projects, and their working time is realistically allocated across the projects and any other work commitments they have — i.e. that these do not add up to more than 100 percent full-time equivalent (40 hours per week).

  • For the Freelancer Support Scheme, there will be two calls (rounds of funding) in 2022/23, held simultaneously with calls for the Investigation Support Scheme.

    The first will be in September 2022. Applicants will have six weeks to submit their proposals.

    The second will be in January 2023. Again, the deadline for applications will be six weeks from the launch of the call.

  • The Freelancer Support Scheme allows applicants to apply for grants of up to €20,000.

  • Yes, we ask all applicants to use the budget template provided for the Freelancer Support Scheme.

  • The Freelancer Support Scheme has been designed to contribute to sustainability in terms of the projects’ and teams’ achievements. Grant funding will support cross-border teams in the short term. In the longer term, by enhancing their skills through mentorship and training, participating freelance journalists will be able to independently build on results, forge new partnerships and implement other cross-border investigative projects. The mentorship and training, as well as the networking elements are therefore an integral part of the Freelancer Support Scheme. 

    The mentorship programme will give grantees the opportunity to work with mentors according to how their needs evolve as they proceed with their projects. Teams can decide how many and which team members will communicate with the mentor(s) throughout the mentorship programme. Mentors will commit to being available on particular days for calls, emails, feedback sessions etc. Mid-term and end-of-project grantees’ reports will track the progress and evaluation of the impact of the programme. It is, therefore, necessary that all awarded teams undertake and complete the mentorship programme.

    Participation in the training (two online expert webinars) and networking (one online event) will complement the mentorship programme and further enhance teams’ overall skills and networking opportunities and will allow them to maximise the effectiveness of the programme. It is up to each awarded team to decide which member(s) will attend the training sessions and the networking event. At least one person from each awarded team should attend. 

  • Investigations should be published by at least two respected news organisations or platforms in at least two EU member states; or at least one EU member state and one EU candidate country.

    For the purposes of the IJ4EU fund, a news organisation or platform shall be considered to be based in a particular country if its primary audience is located there. 

  • 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 strength of your proposal. It is not a firm commitment from either the media organisation or the investigative team but an expression of intent in principle. 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.

    The submission of letters of intent is not mandatory, but highly desirable.

  • Applications will undergo an initial pre-screening to review basic eligibility and application requirements and applicants may be asked during this phase to supply additional information. Applications that do not meet basic requirements will not be further evaluated. Тhis pre-screening will be done by experts from the European Journalism Centre, with input from the International Press Institute. 

    The selection of successful applications will be done by an independent jury made up, in part, of distinguished journalists who are themselves freelancers and so understand the needs of freelance investigative journalists and their ways of working. The jury will include individuals with a deep understanding of the global challenges facing independent journalism, particularly in Europe, including practising journalists, editors, former journalists, media lawyers, academics or other relevant experts, from different countries across Europe.

    The Freelancer Support Scheme and the Investigation Support Scheme have separate juries in order to strengthen the independence of the selection process under the IJ4EU fund. Furthermore, this helps ensure that jury members of the Freelancer Support Scheme pay special attention not only to the strength and feasibility of the investigations proposed but also the extent to which the applying teams could benefit from the complete package of support on offer.

    No direct or indirect representatives of consortium partners or donors will be allowed to sit on the jury, and jury members will be required to declare any conflicts of interest related to specific applications and recuse themselves as necessary. Profiles of jury members will only be made public after the results of the call are released. We will strive to assemble as diverse a jury as possible in terms of background, experience, gender and geography. All jury members will be required to commit to the highest ethical and professional standards and reject any effort to influence their decisions.

  • The European Journalism Centre will notify successful applicants about the outcome of their application as soon as the independent jury has made its decision. Given the expected high volume of applications, the EJC reserves the right to not provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants. In case an applicant has not heard from the EJC for six weeks after the deadline for the submission of proposals, they should assume their application has not been successful.  

  • We understand that investigative journalism is an unpredictable enterprise, especially given the ongoing public health situation. Grant agreements will require that successful teams make every reasonable effort to have their work published by the deadline stated, or to inform the European Journalism Centre 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 the EJC on the progress of investigative work and immediately communicate any (major) unexpected delays.

  • Applicants and projects that do not meet the eligibility requirements for the Freelancer Support Scheme cannot receive funding under the Scheme. A non-exhaustive list of practical examples of what cannot be funded is given below.

    Applicants

    • Teams consisting only of journalists from non-EU or EU candidate countries or third countries. 
    • Teams that are not composed predominantly of freelancers or that involve a news organisation. These teams are eligible to apply under the Investigation Support Scheme provided that they meet the other eligibility criteria. 

    Projects

    • Projects investigating an issue that has relevance or ramifications outside the EU countries, but is not directly relevant for EU audiences. 
    • Investigations that take place entirely outside the EU.
    • Journalism projects that are not deemed investigative journalism.

    Costs 

    • Hardware costs (standard computer and video equipment, etc) and costs incurred before the signing of the grant agreement.

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 journalists or news organisations based in at least two different EU member states; or at least one EU member state and one EU candidate country; or at least one EU member state and Ukraine.

  • Due to Brexit, journalists and news organisations based in the United Kingdom are no longer eligible for the award on the same terms as their counterparts in EU member states. However, they can still be part of teams that meet the core geographical eligibility criteria listed above. In other words, in 2022/23, UK-based journalists or news outlets will be treated like any other third-country applicants.

  • 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.