European Cross-border Grants FAQ

Please first take a look at this programme's grant details. Still have any questions? Then there's a good chance they might be addressed in these FAQ:

What do I need before I can apply?

Basically, you need a good idea for an investigation, a cross-border team of at least two journalists, and at least two letters of intent from professional news outlets who are willing to publish the result of your investigation.

You can read how to start from there in the grant details.

Do I need to publish my story in English?

No. The result of your journalistic investigation can be published by a professional media outlet in any language.

However, it is required to submit your full project application in English. English is the common language of our international jury, and all jury members need to be able to assess all applications on the same basis.

Can I apply alone?

No. You need to collaborate with at least one team member in a different country.

I have an idea for a cross-border investigation, but I don’t have a partner yet. How can I find a team member?

Check out our tip page How to find a teammate.

​​​​​​​Can news outlets (co-)apply?

No. Only (teams of) natural persons can apply. Of course, journalists who work for news outlets, either on a freelance or an employed base, can apply. News outlets can also encourage journalists to apply. But only natural persons can be an applicant. Moreover, if a grant is awarded, Journalismfund Europe makes a separate grant agreement with each individual grantee. Grants are only paid out on the personal bank accounts of the grantees.

(We do have other grant programmes where news outlets can be (co-)applicant: our Investigation Grants for Environmental Journalism and the Local Media for Democracy grants programme.

Which costs are eligible?

If you are a freelance journalist, both working time and expenses are eligible. Employed staff journalists cannot apply for working time, only for expenses.

  • Expenses can include travel, visa, accommodation, translation, fixers, access to pay-databases, FOI requests, legal screening, etc.
  • Following expenses are NOT eligible for a grant: investments goods (such as IT equipment, mobile phones, …), office costs, production costs, food and beverage, per diems.
  • By collaborating with journalists on the ground you can reduce your carbon footprint. Why travel when you can collaborate with a journalist from another country who has the know-how and knowledge?

The grant can only cover costs for research, not for production.

Do I have to be a freelancer to apply?

No. Every professional journalist can apply. However, only freelancers can ask for a grant to cover their working time. Employed staff journalists can only apply to cover their expenses.

The rationale behind this is, apart from Journalismfund Europe's limited budget, that applicants can't receive working grants for work(ing time) they are already paid for by their employer.

How much money can I ask?

It is perfectly understandable to ask this. We get this question a lot…

However, there is no clear answer. The amounts vary per project and depend on the duration of the investigation, the number of team members and the necessary expenses.

We want to stress that you should start from a convincing project plan to conduct your investigation, and only then draft a realistic budget to fund that plan. The quality and realism of the budget you submit is one of the assessment criteria for the jury to grant your project. It is therefore NOT a good idea to inflate your budget.

From our experience with other grant programmes, we can say that most cross-border grants vary from €2,000 to €14,000 per project.

In 2023 the European Cross-border Grants programme has a total budget of €200,000 to distribute over four application rounds. 

When will I know the result of my grant application?

Applicants are usually informed about the jury decision around 40 days after the application deadline.

Where does the money come from?

In 2023 Journalismfund Europe's European Cross-border Grants programme is funded by 9 foundations:

  • Adessium Foundation
  • Open Society Foundations
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • Fritt Ord
  • Limelight Foundation
  • Veronica Stichting
  • Porticus
  • Fondation Puech

How can Journalismfund Europe safeguard its independence?

Journalismfund Europe’s financial records are reviewed annually by an independent auditor. You can find all funding information and financial documents here.

All formal agreements between Journalismfund Europe and its donors stipulate independence and no editorial interference. (Representatives from) donors can never be part of the juries that award the grants. Journalismfund Europe does not take money from donors that don’t agree with these terms.

We adopted an Ethical Funding Policy to ensure that Journalismfund Europe properly manages its priorities and projects with appropriate independence from its funders. This Policy also aims at providing transparency regarding the identity of Journalismfund Europe’s sources of funding to avoid any suspicion of inappropriate influence or conflicts of interest concerning Journalismfund Europe’s activities. Find our Ethical Funding Policy here.

What do you mean with ‘Europe’? The EU?

No. With ‘Europe’ we mean continental Europe. Which means that this grant is inclusive for all Europeans and not just those who live in the European Union.

What kind of stories has the European Cross-border Grant Programme already supported?

You can find an overview of the supported stories here.

I would like to self-publish our investigation on my own platform. Is that OK?

You are welcome to publish parts or your investigation in its entirety on your own platform or blog. For your application we request however two letters of intent for publication from professional news outlets in two different countries, that will be independent from your own platform.

Is the information I submit to Journalismfund Europe about myself and about my project secure?

Journalismfund Europe strives for the highest standards for data protection and security. Read about our privacy and data protection measures here.

What is Journalismfund Europe actually?

Journalismfund Europe vzw is a Belgium based independent non‐profit organisation established with the purpose of promoting independent investigative journalism.

Check the general FAQ about our organisation.

More information

Do you still have questions about this grant programme or about the application procedure? Do you want pre-application advice to discuss your project idea? Don't hesitate to contact us!