Open call: Prototype Fund sponsors open source programmers in Germany

(Unfortunately this funding opportunity is only for people with a residence in Germany. But if that applies to you, read on.)

Since two weeks now, I am working away on a food edibility informer software that is funded via Prototype Fund. It feels just right: I can work on an environmentally and socially useful tool, and I even get paid for it by German government :blush: Work is very self-directed and free, and from wherever I want, and at 50 EUR the usual hourly rate is decent. There is some annoying form filling and a bit of reporting, but it’s manageable and Prototype Fund has hacked the German government’s grant system enough in the previous rounds to make this comfortable for bureaucracy-averse hackers.

The good news is, there are more rounds, open for applications twice a year until March 31, 2024. (Maybe there will be even more rounds after that, as the initial 4 year runtime was already extended by another 4 years.) You basically get paid up to 6 months full-time work on a socially relevant open source software idea of your choice. It can be a completely new thing, or (as in my case) an extension of an existing tool towards a new use. From what I have seen, each round draws about 200 applications, and 20-25 get funded – so the odds are pretty good!

For all the details, see here (in German):

In addition, starting 2022-04-15, there is a variant of this for open hardware projects, the Prototype Fund Hardware:

And finally, there is also a version for residents of Switzerland, funded not by government but by a foundation:


And a big thank you to @felix.wolfsteller for pointing this funding opportunity out to me a year back! Do you have an idea you want to apply with in Round 8?


I certainly should but have not yet startet to throw brains at it.

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If you haven’t noticed yet, there is now also a “Prototype Fund Hardware” variant for open hardware projects. First round of applications opens in two weeks, on 2022-04-15:


ping @OmaMorkie re Nico