Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024

Open Application for Project Financing

The mission of the foundation "Stichting NLnet" is to contribute to an open information society. Our background lies with the European pioneers of the internet.

Check the application form

One of the most effective ways to accomplish this mission, is to financially support selected projects in the area of network research and development in the domain of (Internet) technology. NLnet believes in open standards and in the free software/open source philosophy.

Organizations of any type as well as individuals can apply for financial support as long as their project meets the following criteria:

  1. the technology created within the project is intended for peaceful and humane purposes
  2. the project results must be available to all at no cost, as part of a (proposed) open standard or in the case of software and/or hardware based on an adequate open license
  3. the project team is ready to undertake adequate efforts to disseminate project results
  4. the requested project contributions does not exceed the amount of 30.000 €

NLnet gets many more proposals than it can fund. NLnet chooses the projects which it deems will have the largest impact, and delivers the biggest contribution to an open information society. NLnet reserves the right to reject the project proposal with or without reasoning, or to delay the contribution to a later moment.

The requestor may propose combined financing with other sources of funding. Do take into account the independent position of NLnet.

The above requirement — that project results shall be made available under a suitable free software license — does not necessarily mean that the results can not be commercially utilized. On the contrary: building up of profitable business on the project results is applauded, as long as this does not hamper the public interest.

The acceptance process normally followed by NLnet is described here:

  Activity Start End
1 Proposal submission Any time See the website for calls
2 Primary selection 1st week 2nd week
3 Second selection round 3rd week 5th week
4 Discussing and agreeing of project plans 5th week 8th week
5 Signing memorandum of understanding 9th week 10th week
6 Milestones reached ? ?
7 Final payment after last milestone -

This is described in more detail:

  1. Open applications for project financing can be submitted any time to the NLnet project selection committee via our web-based application form. However, the selection process is competitive and therefore starts only at the deadline announced on the website. Your proposal will not be rejected when it is received after these dates, rather the assessment of your proposal is likely to be shifted to the selection round following next.
  2. In the first two weeks from the start of a selection round, the selection committee makes a first filtering based on the above outlined criteria. The project teams will be notified about the outcome of this initial selection in the third week of the round.
  3. The second selection round is used to pick projects which not only satisfy the criteria, but also have potentially the most impact on society. Project teams will be notified on the results of the second round as soon as possible. On this moment, the final answer is given whether NLnet intends to financially support (part of) the project.
  4. Subsequently there is a period for submitting additional detail and further negotiation on the project plans(*) and budgeting, as well as examining the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NLnet and the project submitter (see the sample MoU in PDF). This period might take longer if a third party participates in project financing. After that, the project memorandum of understanding will be signed.
  5. In some cases, an advance payment can be considered. If this is agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding, the first advance payment can be effectuated in a week time after signing the MoU.
  6. Follow up payments are made when agreed parts of the work ('milestones') are finished. NLnet verifies the results, and authorises a payment typically two weeks after the project has submitted a so called 'Request for Payment'.
  7. The final payment is made after the final results are publicly available.

Since outreach is considered a critical issue new ideas about this promotion of project may result in supplemental financing. This can be negotiated on the basis of an adapted (or new) outreach plan, compiled by the project team.