Current status: New calls for applications to be announced soon

What are the application criteria?

Please read our application criteria carefully before you apply for our grant programme.


Journalists and relevant* media outlets that target audiences in one or more of the following European countries are eligible to apply: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The stories can be published in any of the official languages of the admissible countries.

Journalists, media outlets and freelancers not based in the countries mentioned above are also eligible and encouraged to apply as long as they publish in at least one relevant media organisation from the five eligible countries. Secondary outlets may cater to any other European country, while publications outside Europe are most welcome for supplemental dissemination. A "letter of commitment" for the story to be published or aired by an eligible media outlet will be required from all shortlisted applicants, upon invitation to submit a full-fledged proposal.

State owned or directly government-controlled entities are NOT eligible for funding.

All projects must provide in-depth information of relevance beyond the limitations of daily news cycles. The latter must be true even if the coverage appears on the occasion of specific news events such as summits or conferences.

Projects are required to address by theme, style, and presentation the general public, or large audience segments, or must effectively leverage important multipliers. They may be one-off publications or entire series, which must be narrative, exploratory and explanatory in nature, and may be presented in a linear or non-linear fashion including text, graphics, images, animations, interactive elements, video, audio, or film. Journalists aiming at cross-country cooperation and using multiple platforms are strongly encouraged to apply.

* A relevant media outlet is considered to be one of the following: a public or commercial broadcaster with at least broad regional reach; a mainstream print magazine or newspaper with distribution at least in a region or major city with over 500,000 inhabitants; a print trade publication or specialist magazine of particular influence as a multiplier; a website of significant reach and audience; an electronic format such as a mobile application; or a contribution to an existing app – with demonstrable potential to reach a large audience.

Updated selection criteria

All applications will be reviewed by a jury, which rates and ranks the projects according to the following criteria (explained in details below):

  • Editorial approach
  • Transnational reach
  • Innovation
  • Packaging, publication and delivery strategy
  • Impact (goal)
  • 1. Editorial: an original approach to the sustainable development goals

    We are looking for powerful stories or journalistic projects about topics linked to one or several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

    The funded projects must address topics related to the SDGs with respect to issues in one or more of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and/or the key European donor countries’ development relations with LDCs. The projects must take place in one or several developing countries, excluding the countries from the former Yugoslav Republic, former Soviet Union countries, China and countries covered by a US embargo (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria).

    For the first call of 2017 (15 February) pitched stories should touch on the topic of gender equality (SDG 5).

    Your story and editorial approach must be original. It should not focus on negative breaking news stories, or traditional positive "development journalism": we are looking for stories that approach developing countries in a different way. Can you show and tell how people are finding solutions or fighting problems on the ground without being too dramatic or overly positive, maintaining an investigative and genuinely journalistic approach? Why now? What's new? We want to hear about solutions and issues while avoiding stereotypes; we are interested in stories that would normally not get covered, stories that can have a ripple effect and an impact on societies globally.

    2. Transnational Impact

    Although we are interested in strong bilateral stories, your project should ideally be international and published by at least two major media outlets in two different eligible countries. International teams of journalists will be highly appreciated. We also ask the applicants to involve local media organisations and journalists in the countries of reporting as much as possible.

    3. Innovation

    To bring a new kind of reporting to development and the sustainable development goals, your project should have an innovative format or topic: use data visualisation, interactive tools, newsgaming, scrollytelling, user engagement strategies, original investigative angles, or simply a nice multiplatform format… We are not likely to support traditional stories (print only, tv only), although there may be exceptions.

    The innovative format should be adapted to your topic, your media outlets and audience. The format must be at the core of your project's concept: try not to propose a traditional story and put a web documentary next to it as a mere afterthought.

    The innovative formats must be accessible to readers: Many interactive tools are not easy to navigate or to share. Try to avoid such problems.

    4. Packaging, publication and delivery strategy

    Your project must have a clear strategy for packaging, publication and delivery. Even if published by several media outlets in several countries, your stories must be part of a unified package, with a carefully defined publication timeline (either a single publication date on a meaningful day, or a series of articles published as part of an ongoing campaign).

    The stories we will select and fund are very valuable and important to us, and we want them to be published in a way that ensures the strongest impact on the audience.

    Make sure you identify the target audience of your story early on: to ensure a good publication campaign, it is essential that you reach an engaged community.

    5. Impact (goal)

    Your project must have a goal: it can be very specific ("get the authorities to change this law") or less so ("raise awareness around this problem"). We want the projects and stories we support to have an impact, and for this reason it is important for us to know what you are trying to achieve. In such a way, we will be able to better monitor your project during the production phase and to assess it upon delivery.

    6. Practical details

    • The Guardian and El País are not eligible media outlets because they already receive direct support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    • We do not cover the salaries of staff journalists.
    • Grants include all and any taxes for which the grantees may be liable, and grantees are responsible for their own tax declarations.
    • Freelancers are encouraged to claim fees from the media outlets publishing their projects and may keep all such revenue.
    • Open data: all data generated should ideally be made reusable for other stories and investigations.