Call for Applications: production grants

Free Press Unlimited, jointly with consortium partners, is inviting independent journalists and news media in Europe to apply for small production grants for cross-border stories on climate change, migration and public health, as part of the European Excellence Exchange in Journalism (E³J) project.

E³J is a network-based initiative that promotes ethical standards, offers training and capacity building opportunities and a forum for collaboration and peer-support. 


With these grants, Free Press Unlimited and its E³J partners seek to support strategic cross-border collaborations between individual journalists and independent news media on topics of public interest in Europe.

Journalists who include perspectives from other countries in their investigation open up new connections and maximise their story’s reach. To properly address societal challenges such as the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic or the climate crisis, going beyond national borders becomes a need for journalists. 

Setting up collaborations with colleagues abroad is not an easy task to do on your own. Aside from being aware of unwritten rules, organisational and intercultural skills are also required. 

These small grants opportunities will be just a first step to encourage journalists all over Europe to form longer-term collaboration and become more familiar with the work cycles and approaches of each other.

Who can apply?

  • Cross-border teams of freelancers and/or staff journalists with a proven track record in cross-border journalism and/or investigative journalism in independent European news media.
  • Teams should be composed of at least two journalists residing in two different EU member states or EU candidate countries.  

EU countries

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden

EU Candidate and Non-EU Participating Countries in the Creative Europe Programme

Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Moldova

Which topics can be covered? 

You can submit a pitch for a story covering one of these topics:  

  • Climate Change
  • Migration
  • Public Health
  • Or a mix of the above
  • The story should be of relevance to at least two eligible European countries.
  • The story should be published by at least two media outlets from the countries where the story narrative unfolds, in order to engage their local or national audiences.

What does the grant fund?

We expect to award up to 15 grants, each worth up to 3000 EUR. Teams are free to divide this grant amount between team members according to their specific needs. 

Awarded grants can cover:

  • Freelance fees
  • Travel, accommodation and subsistence 
  • Graphics, design and visualization
  • Renting of equipment for production and post-production work 
  • Translations into other languages with the aim of wider reach

The grant programme does not cover:

  • Salaries of staff journalists
  • Costs that took place prior to the grant or previously published work
  • Indirect costs (overheads)
  • Purchases of equipment or general-purpose software licenses
  • Any unethical or illegal activities 

In addition to funding, each team will also get:

  • Access to the E³J network and community for ongoing learning and sharing of experiences in the field of collaborative cross-border journalism in Europe.
  • Participation in a networking event in late 2023 or early 2024 to present  their work and meet other teams.
  • A mentor who will provide guidance during writing and publishing their collaborative story  
  • A range of webinars to support their cross-border investigation, specifically on: 
  • How to effectively run a cross-border investigative journalism project
  • How to achieve a bigger impact with your cross-border stories?
  • Journalism Trust Initiative, turning accountability into an asset, including Individual follow up sessions and access to the JTI Campus. 

Selection criteria 

The jury will guide its decision by the following criteria:

  • Editorial quality (Does your story pitch cover an under-reported topic? Do you have a fresh perspective on a well-known issue? Is your approach evidence-backed and/or solution-oriented?)
  • Story relevance (Why this story and why now? Does your story touch on a topic of high-relevance at local, national, regional or European levels? What is the cross-border relevance?)
  • Reach and Impact (Does your story have the potential to engage a significant audience? Does your format suit the proposed story and target audience? Do you have a well-thought out publication plan? What change do you want your story to make?)
  • Project feasibility (Is the proposed project timeline and budget feasible? Did you consider potential risks and ways to mitigate them?)
  • Applicants’ experience (Does the team have the necessary experience and set-up to carry out the proposed project?)  

Additionally, the jury will look to ensure a balance across:

  • Countries and regions in Europe
  • Proposed story themes 

Detailed timeline

  • April 28, 2023 - Call release date 
  • May 1-28, 2023 - Ask us Anything at: 
  • May 29, 2023 at 23:59 CEST - Application deadline 
  • May 30 -June 12, 2023 - Selection process
  • June 15, 2023 - Winners announced
  • Mid-End June 2023 - Online feedback sessions on the pitches with selected teams 
  • Mid July 2023 - Grants signed
  • Mid-End July 2023 - First installments paid (80% of the grant)
  • July-October - 3 free webinars for teams to enhance their skills
  • July-December 2023 - Project research, production and publication 15 stories
  • December 31, 2023 - Grant end date 
  • January 31, 2024 - Short report from teams 
  • February 15, 2024 - Final grants disbursement based on positive evaluation (20% of the grant)

How to apply?

Applications need to be sent by May 29, 2023, 23:59 CEST, via this application form.

Only applications received through the online form will be considered. All applications need to be submitted in English. The applications will not be judged based on the level of the English language, but on the quality of the proposed content.  

If you have any questions about the grants, email to

About E³J

This Call is part of the European Excellence Exchange in Journalism (E³J) project. E³J is carried out by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) in partnership with Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Permanent Conference of the Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM), Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) and the Community Media Institute for Continuing Education, Research and Consulting (COMMIT), and aims to become a network-based initiative that promotes ethical standards, offers training and capacity building opportunities and a forum for collaboration and peer-support.

In partnership with 

Call for applications E3J partnerships





Funded by the EU




This project is part of the Creative Europe Programme (CREA, NEWS-Journalism partnerships). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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