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Call for applications: €1 million in grant funding for cross-border investigative journalism


Call for applications: €1 million in grant funding for cross-border investigative journalism

Picture of Zlatina Siderova
Zlatina Siderova — Programme Lead Grants
May 05, 2020

Teams of journalists and media organisations in Europe can now apply for the IJ4EU fund

Journalism, and investigative journalism in particular, functions as a watchdog to power and is a pillar of open, democratic societies.

In spite of the challenges and changes taking place in the journalism ecosystem in the last years, including the closing and downsizing of news organisations, investigative reporting is successfully learning to adapt. In particular, by shifting from a single-newsroom investigation format to a model involving different partners cooperating and sharing information to expose wrongdoing, it is making a clear case for its public interest value.

The European Journalism Centre is proud to partner with the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) for the launch of the Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund. IJ4EU is providing €1 million in direct support for cross-border investigative journalism in EU member states (including the UK) and candidate countries.

About the fund

The IJ4EU initiative is co-funded as a Preparatory Action by the European Commission (DG Connect). It is also supported 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 Fritt Ord Foundation.

Its objectives rest on four key pillars: funding, support, independence and inclusivity. The IJ4EU partners believe that cross-border investigative journalism is central to the sustainability of European democracy, and that IJ4EU offers opportunities for journalists to work innovatively and collaboratively — both essential qualities for journalism to engage with the public interest.

IJ4EU’s purpose is to foster and strengthen the collaboration among EU-based journalists and news organisations through providing them with grant funding, coaching, training, expert support and networking opportunities. It also aims to raise awareness of the value of and incentivising quality investigative journalism through launching an impact award.

When IJ4EU was first launched in 2018, it provided €350,000 in grant funding to 12 cross-border investigative projects, including The Daphne Project, Invisible Borders and Lost in Europe.

In 2020, IJ4EU is providing nearly €1.2 million through a combined set of measures, including two grant funding schemes:

  • Publication Support Scheme (managed by EJC) — grants up to €6,250 in short-term support to ongoing cross-border projects that need funds to complete or publish their stories. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis from 5 May until 18 September. See full information and FAQs
  • Investigation Support Scheme (managed by IPI) — grants between €5,000 and €50,000 to support new cross-border investigative projects, including those that have recently begun, as well as new phases of existing projects. The first deadline for applications for the first call is 14 June. The second call is expected to open in late summer and will accept applications until 18 September. See full information and FAQs

In addition to the grant funding, IJ4EU will provide grantees with training, coaching, legal counselling, editorial support, advocacy support and other practical support and guidance, to enhance skills development and ensure the success of the individual projects and teams, and of the IJ4EU project overall.

Who can apply?

The eligibility criteria are the same for both funding schemes. Applications must be submitted by teams of journalists and/or news organisations that meet the following criteria:

  • based in at least two EU member states, or at least one EU member state and one official EU candidate country. UK-based journalists are still fully eligible for the 2020 IJ4EU grants.
  • collaborating on a topic of cross-border relevance.

Teams of freelance journalists, staff journalists, and news organisations, or any combination of these, are equally welcome to apply. Furthermore, teams working in eligible countries where investigative journalism is under pressure, including financial and political pressure, are especially encouraged to apply.

Eligible topics

IJ4EU is open to cross-border investigative projects on any topic. This includes, but is not limited to, corruption, illicit enrichment and financial crime, security, democracy and human rights, environment and climate change, and health — including the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. Investigative projects related to COVID-19 are also eligible for funding, provided that they meet the application requirements.

How to apply

Applications for both the Publication Support Scheme and Investigation Support Scheme must be submitted in English via the online Award Force platform.

  • For the Publication Support Scheme, applications will be considered on a rolling basis from 5 May until 18 September.
  • For the first round of the Investigation Support Scheme, applications can be submitted from 5 May until June 14. A second call will be announced in late summer.

Do you have further questions?

The IJ4EU website and the FAQ page provide answers to many specific questions about the fund. If you still have questions, feel free to get in touch with us:

  • Questions related to the Publication Support Scheme:
  • Questions related to the Investigation Support Scheme:

The team leading the IJ4EU fund and managing the Publication Support Scheme at the EJC are Kathryn Geels, programme director, Zlatina Siderova, project manager, and Madalina Ciobanu, project manager.


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