An independent jury has chosen 15 teams of freelance journalists from across Europe to participate in the IJ4EU fund’s new Freelancer Support Scheme, offering financing, mentoring, training and networking opportunities.

Designed exclusively for journalists working outside of newsroom structures, the scheme allows grantees to collaborate on cross-border investigations in the public interest, bolstered by tailored support including access to experts and legal help.

Altogether, the jury awarded €262,000 in grants to the following projects (in no particular order):

  • An investigation into energy production from biomass in the EU – €20,000
  • An investigation into new waste routes in Europe and their environmental and financial implications – €19,040
  • Michael Bird, Vlad Odobescu (Romania) and Paolo Riva (Italy/Belgium) will work on a cross-border project about agriculture in the EU – €12,000
  • Two freelance journalists based in France and Spain will investigate underreported policy failures preventing migrant victims being identified by their families – €19,965
  • An international team working on a project related to the Ukrainian revolution of 2014 – €19,950
  • An investigation into diabetes in the EU and beyond – €18,270
  • Ricardo Gines (Spain) and Angus MacInnes (UK) will investigate the EU’s green recovery plan, with a focus on the renewable energy sector in southern Spain – €19,780
  • A cross-border team including Lorenzo D’Agostino and Julie Bourdin will work on a comprehensive review of Europe’s war on migrant smuggling to assess its systemic dimension, human and economic costs and results – €18,500
  • An investigative project following the trail of non-consensual pornography online, relevant legislation and its failures – €15,505
  • Emmanuel Freudenthal (France) and Patricia Huon (Belgium), together with an international team of researchers and journalists, will investigate the role of global military powers in an armed conflict – €10,000
  • An investigation into the persecution of Chechen refugees in the EU – €17,560
  • An investigative project into how private and public funds influence cross-border migration tragedies – €20,000
  • A project showing how migratory pressure and push-back politics created one of the most unstable yet underreported regions in the European Union – €11,430
  • An investigation into the uneven fight for the future of privacy in Europe at a time of sweeping change – €19,960
  • Eva von Schaper (Germany) and Daiva Repečkaitė (Lithuania/Malta) of The Inoculation podcast are working on a data-driven investigation into anti-vaccination and populist movements in Europe and beyond- €19,825

Unique challenges

Managed by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), the Freelancer Support Scheme is a new addition to the Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund, which supports cross-border, collaborative journalism in the European Union.

It runs in parallel to the well-established Investigation Support Scheme, managed by the International Press Institute (IPI) and offering financial assistance of up to €50,000.

In 2021, the IJ4EU fund will disburse a combined €1.1 million through both schemes in support of watchdog journalism on transnational subjects.

While the Freelancer Support Scheme is now closed for the year, the Investigation Support Scheme will launch a second call next week.

Under the Freelancer Support Scheme, the awarded teams will have six months to complete their investigations. During this time, they will work with carefully chosen mentors according to the needs of teams and the progress of projects. They will also benefit from online training sessions and a networking event.

IJ4EU launched the scheme this year in recognition of the unique challenges facing many freelancers who lack the institutional support of news outlets and the security of staff jobs.

An independent jury chose the winning projects from a pool of applications seeking a combined €670,000 in grant funding. The winning team members are based in 16 countries.

The jury members, whose identities will be announced shortly on the IJ4EU website, made their selection according to criteria including cross-border relevance, newsworthiness, the strength of research and publication plans and financial need.

IJ4EU is co-funded by the European Commission. It is implemented by a consortium led by the International Press Institute (IPI) in partnership with the European Journalism Centre and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom in Leipzig.

Interested in learning more about projects previously funded by IJ4EU? Check out our projects section.

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash