Open source developers; applying for funding

If you are a programmer who wants to develop open source software as a creative solution to a social problem, you can be funded to do so under certain conditions.



You are eligible to apply if you are

  • are a self-employed programmer,
  • are at least 18 years old and
  • have your residence in Germany.

You can apply alone or as a small interdisciplinary team.


The application procedure has 2 stages.

Stage 1: Project outline (short project description).

  • You submit your outline in digital form on the Prototype Fund internet portal.
  • Your project outline will be evaluated according to the following characteristics:
    • technical relevance to the funding guideline,
    • approach and novelty of the idea,
    • social benefit,
    • qualification of the applicant, own preliminary work,
    • Prospect of successful exploitation, publication as open source.
  • External reviewers may be consulted for the evaluation.
  • All submissions are in competition with each other.
  • If your project idea is selected, you will receive a positive written request to submit the application (stage 2)

Stage 2: Application

You submit your application as follows:

  • Submit your application electronically via the easy-Online portal.
  • Call up the easy-Online Internet portal. There you will be guided step by step through the process of submitting your application.
  • Fill in all the fields required for the application and submit it.
  • If you have a qualified electronic signature (the necessary technical requirements include appropriate software or a reader), you can submit the application completely electronically.
  • If you do not have a qualified electronic signature, you must print out the application in addition to submitting it electronically, sign it, and send it to the project management organization in the next step together with the other application documents.
  • Once the application has been received by the project management organization, you will receive a confirmation of receipt.
  • The responsible person at the project management organization as well as the Prototype Fund will help you with questions regarding the application.
  • Applications will be evaluated and reviewed according to the following criteria:
    • Implementation of any conditions from the first stage and compliance with the financial framework recommended there for funding
    • Eligibility of the requested funds;
    • Necessity and appropriateness of the requested funds;
  • You will receive a decision on your application. If the decision is positive, you will receive a notification of funding by mail.

Special notes

Companies, universities, research institutes and other institutions are not eligible to apply.


You can submit your project outline at any time.
However, please note the evaluation deadlines for project outlines:

  • 30.09.2023
  • 31.03.2024

The submission deadline is not considered a cut-off date. However, project outlines received late may not be considered until the next following deadline.

Processing time

The evaluation of the project outline usually takes 2 months from the respective submission deadline. (2 months)

Required documents

  • Required Documents

    Um sich zu bewerben, erstellen Sie in einer 1. Verfahrensstufe über ein Bewerbungsformular eine Projektskizze. Diese Projektskizze enthält folgende Angaben:

    • Ihr Thema,
    • Ihre Kontaktdaten (Name, Adresse, Telefon, E-Mail-Adresse),
    • die Laufzeit des Vorhabens,
    • die Höhe der Gesamtkosten und des Förderbedarfs,
    • eine Kurzzusammenfassung der Ziele und des Lösungswegs,
    • aktueller Technologiestand und Neuheit des Lösungsansatzes, angestrebter gesellschaftlicher beziehungsweise technischer Nutzen, Abgrenzung von verwandten Ansätzen,
    • Darstellung Ihrer Person bezüglich Ihrer bisherigen Erfahrungen und Projekte,
    • Ihre Arbeitsplanung, gegebenenfalls mit Arbeitspaketen und zeitlichem Ablauf,
    • eine Auflistung der Personenmonate (die Summe der Monate, die alle Projektbeteiligte arbeiten) mit Personal- und gegebenenfalls Gemeinkosten,
    • Verwertungsperspektiven der Ergebnisse unter Open-Source-Lizenz, zu erwartender Praxiseinsatz sowie Anschlussmöglichkeiten.

Online procedures


  • There are no costs.


  • administrative claim


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