Grant eligibilty and applying (for both schemes)

  • The Investigation Support Scheme provides funding to new investigative projects; projects in the early stages of development; and new phases of existing projects. “New phases” means you are planning to start a completely new track in a wider investigation. The Investigation Support Scheme is managed by the International Press Institute (IPI).

    The Publication Support Scheme provides shorter-term funding to ongoing projects that need funds to complete or publish their stories. The Publication Support Scheme is managed 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.

  • If a specific project has already received funding under the Investigation Support Scheme it cannot also receive funding under the Publication Support Scheme.

  • All applications must be submitted in English via the online Award Force platform. Award Force 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 that might be either an organisation or an individual.
    2. Access the Award Force application via this link. You will see the logo of the European Journalism Centre but this platform is valid for all IJ4EU grant applications.
    3. The lead applicant will need to create a personal user account to ensure that the application can be submitted securely and so 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 Award Force 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 Award Force 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 Award Force platform. Award Force 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 jeopardize the proposed investigation or those involved. The review of applications by the jury also takes place on Award Force, removing the need for further data transfer.

  • For the Investigation Support Scheme, all teams must involve at least one journalist or news organisation from an EU member state.

    For the Publication Support Scheme, applying teams can be based in one EU member state or EU candidate country, provided that their investigation is of cross-border relevance and will be published in at least two countries (at least one of which must be an EU member state).

  • Yes, this grant is open to journalists based in 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.

  • 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 in the case of the Investigation Support scheme, the final decision will always be made by the 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 the 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 expert jury (Investigation Support Scheme) or the EJC’s expert team (Publication Support Scheme).

  • Yes. For the purposes of the 2020 IJ4EU grant, UK-based journalists and news organisations are treated as being EU-based. This means that they are eligible as both lead applicants and members of investigative teams.

  • Kosovo-based journalists and news organisations are considered as outside the EU and candidate countries. They are not directly eligible, but can participate in projects where the geographical requirements are otherwise met. Please see the question above, “Can journalists from outside the EU and EU candidate countries participate?”

  • The importance of investigative journalism is not diminished amid 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, in terms of the Investigation Support scheme, projects that are specifically related to COVID-19 will be subject to an overall view of all viable grant applications. Depending on the number of COVID-19-related projects, the jury may – at its absolute discretion – in some cases propose mergers of teams.

    Fourth, we understand the unusual problems that 2020 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 organizations 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 organizations 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 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

  • There will be two calls (rounds of funding). The first call opened on 5 May 2020. The deadline for applications was 14 June 2020. Successful applicants were notified in July.

    The second call opened on 10 August 2020, with a deadline for applications on 18 September 2020. Successful applicants will be notified in October.

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

  • Yes, you can.

  • Yes. There are no restrictions on the number of applications that may be submitted, either per call or over both 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 under the Investigation Support scheme are decided by an independent jury of experts.

    In 2020, the independent jury is chaired by Wolfgang Krach, editor-in-chief of Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), a leading figure in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers investigations. The names of the remaining jury members will not be revealed at least until the 2020 grant cycle is completed.

    The jury itself is nominated by outside experts in consultation with IPI as the manager of the Investigation Support scheme with a view toward ensuring diversity. 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 under the Investigation Support scheme.

  • 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.

    Teams of freelance journalists need to provide two letters of intent. If your team already includes news organisations/media platforms where the investigation will be published, you do not need to provide the letters of intent.

  • The schedule for informing applicants under the first call was by July 31, 2020 at the latest.

    We aim to inform applicants under the second call by October 31, 2020.

    Unfortunately, we are not able to provide feedback to projects that are not selected for funding.

  • For projects selected under the first call, the publication deadline is December 31, 2020. This means that you must 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 this year 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.

    The publication deadline for the second call is March 31, 2021.

Publication Support Scheme

  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until 18 September 2020. In order to streamline the process and be able to provide effective support during both the application process and the implementation of individual projects, the following tentative dates for the start of funded projects are introduced:

    • 6 July, for projects submitted between 5 May and 19 June 2020
    • 17 August, for projects submitted between 20 June and 31 July 2020
    • 12 October 2020, for projects submitted between 1 August and 18 September 2020.

    These dates can also help applicants choose the best timing to submit their application, based on the stage of their investigation and the time and resources needed for its completion.

  • As of 22 July 2020, applying teams must be a:

    • cross-border collaboration, where team members must be based in at least two EU member states (or at least one EU member state and one official EU candidate country)

    OR

    • a collaboration among journalists/organisations based in one EU member state or one EU candidate country, provided that the investigation will be published in at least two countries (at least one of which is an EU member state).
  • The EJC will make efforts to inform successful applicants of the outcome of their application within a maximum of four weeks of the submission of their proposals. Given the expected high volume of applications, the EJC reserves the right not to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants. In case an applicant has not heard from the EJC for four weeks after the submission of their proposal, they should assume their application has not been successful.

  • We understand investigative journalism is an unpredictable enterprise – even more so in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on travel and movement, some of which are not foreseeable. Therefore, grant contracts will require that successful teams make every reasonable effort to have their work published by the deadline stated in the individual grant agreement, or to inform the EJC 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.

  • Yes. There are no restrictions on the number of applications that may be submitted. The decision for selection of projects will be based entirely on the selection criteria and the attempt to ensure geographical and thematic balance, including adequate representation of freelance journalists.

  • There are no restrictions regarding the composition of investigative teams or the number of team members. Teams may consist of freelance journalists only, employed journalists only, or be a collaboration between freelance and staff journalists and media organisations.

  • Yes, there are no restrictions. 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.

  • The evaluation and selection of projects will be carried out by EJC experts (IJ4EU project team, other experts employed by the EJC or collaborating with the organisation as freelancers, consultants, or part of the wider EJC network), with input from IPI. No external jury will be involved  in the decision-making process to allow for swift results on a rolling timetable so as to meet ongoing needs of projects. All EJC experts involved in the selection process will have  a thorough understanding of current journalistic needs in Europe and may be practicing journalists or editors, former journalists, media lawyers, academics or other experts.

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

  • Applicants and projects that do not meet the eligibility requirement as stated in the Publication Support Scheme guidelines 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 from journalists/organisations from non-EU or EU candidate countries or third countries.

    Projects

    • Projects investigating an issue that has relevance or ramifications outside the EU/candidate countries, but is not directly relevant for EU audiences.
    • Investigations that take place entirely outside the EU/candidate countries.
    • New investigative projects or projects at (very) early stages of development.

    Costs 

    • Hardware costs (standard computer and video equipment, etc). In general, costs should be incurred after the signing of the grant agreement. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis for certain costs incurred after 5 May 2020 (launch of the rolling grant call).

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 has been re-launched in 2020.

  • 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 will provide €1 million in direct funding to cross-border investigative projects through two programmes: Investigation Support and Publication Support.

    IJ4EU also organises support to grantees through training, coaching, 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.

    In 2020, we will also launch a new monetary prize for cross-border investigative journalism in Europe, which will be open to all journalists, not just those who received an IJ4EU grant.

    IJ4EU also organizes the UNCOVERED conference on European investigative journalism, the first edition of which took place in January 2019 in Berlin. The conference highlights the 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 Publication Support scheme as well as the training and networking support. The EJC is headquartered in The Netherlands.

    ECPMF, an organisation which promotes, preserves and defends media freedom by monitoring violations, manages the investigative journalism prize and the UNCOVERED conference. 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, by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Program on Independent Journalism of the Open Society Foundations, and by the foundation Fritt Ord. Further partnerships 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 are awarded by an independent jury of experts based on a transparent set of criteria. In 2020, the jury is chaired by Süddeutsche Zeitung Wolfgang Krach. No representative of any donor or IJ4EU project partner (including IPI, EJC or ECPMF) is allowed to sit on the jury. The jury itself is nominated by outside experts in consultation with IPI as the manager of the Investigation Support scheme.

  • There are two types of grants available: Investigation Support and Publication Support.

  • 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.