Para una versión en español de esta publicación, por favor vea esta página.

This funding call is now open! Please see this page for more details.

At our Funders Summit last year, we started our collective funding pilot with the goal to experiment with and learn from building a more collective, open and transparent funding process, in which we serve real community needs through centring the voices of those who are most impacted by/under-represented in funding decision-making.

We are now launching a design survey for this next phase of the pilot. We would like to invite everyone, particularly those voices mentioned above, to fill in the survey to help inform how this funding will be distributed. The survey is also an opportunity for anyone to express interest in joining the advisory panels for the funding calls that we aim to launch in mid-May.

The pilot so far

In the first phase of the pilot, 36 Funders Summit participants took part in a participatory budgeting exercise, where they allocated an initial pot of 130,000 USD to six areas of opportunity shortlisted by the IOI team based on our draft funding framework.

Three top priority proposed funding framework areas were identified:

  • Critical and at-risk infrastructure: $57,477
  • Community governance: $40,467
  • Technical reliability and security: $32,056
  • Total: $130,000

Since then, we have been designing the next phase of the pilot to distribute these funds. We are looking to continue to use this as a space to explore and test key elements for the fund we’re developing for early-to-mid 2024, while also supporting real needs in the community with targeted investment.

Our goal is to test ways to:

  • Increase participation in funding decision-making, particularly to shift more power to those most impacted/under-represented
  • Increase access to funding, especially for the Global Majority; soliciting and processing funding applications from around the world
  • Increase transparency on how funds are used
  • Effectively use our research to inform funding processes and decisions

With our desire to shift power to those under-represented and increase global access to funding, in the past three months, we focussed on having conversations to learn from the Global Majority. Through our exploratory regional research project and engagement activities in Accra, Ghana and Buenos Aires, Argentina, we’re working with key stakeholders to identify where investment is needed to support digital and social infrastructure that supports open science and scholarship.

These conversations and research helped us narrow down the broad scopes of the three areas, but also raised additional questions regarding other funding parameters, including:

  • Funding distribution: should these funds be distributed as microgrants (<2,500 USD), a single (larger) concentrated grant, or somewhere in between?
  • Geographical focus: should (part of) the funds be ring fenced for individuals/organizations from a certain part of the world? If yes, which/why?
  • Fund recipients: should these funds be directed to infrastructure service providers, supports and users? To organizations or to individuals?

Additionally, we recognise that the power to make these critical decisions is usually held in the hands of a few individuals, early on in a funding design process, in an opaque manner. We believe that broadening participation at this stage of design can help ensure that the investments will address real needs in the community.

The survey

Today, we’re launching a survey to invite everyone to participate in our pilot design. Your input here will help inform our design for the call for proposals (CfPs) for each of the three areas, including their scopes, the size of grants, who is eligible, etc. We want this funding to address real needs in the community, and we need your help to do so.

At the end of the survey, there’s also an opportunity for you to express your interest in joining one of the advisory panels for this pilot. The advisory panels play a crucial role in advancing the aims of this pilot and ensuring that the funding addresses real needs in the community in a targeted manner. More information about panelists’ roles and responsibilities, eligibility requirements, time commitment, etc. can be found below.

The survey will close on May 8, 2023, and we hope to launch the calls for proposals in mid-May. The calls will be open until the end of June. We invite everyone who would like to stay updated on these calls to subscribe to our newsletter.

Advisory panels

We aim to convene an advisory panel for each funding area in this pilot. The panels play a crucial role in advancing the aims of this pilot and ensuring that the funding addresses pressing needs in the community in a targeted manner.

Panels will:

  • Support the calls for proposals by helping promote the calls within their networks and co-hosting with IOI community calls with potential applicants.
  • Review funding proposals in a specific funding area using the rubric and criteria designed by the IOI team.
  • Make recommendations for the proposals to fund to the IOI Steering Committee for final consideration.

Time commitment

We expect this work to take 8-10 hours/month between May and August, 2023. If there are huge numbers of applications, workload will be heavier in July and August (the reviewing period). Participants will be provided an honorarium for their time and support.


  • From now until May 8, 2023: interested panellists can express their interest in joining the panels through our pilot design survey. The IOI team will review the expressions of interest on a rolling basis and contact eligible panellists.
  • May 15, 2023: Calls for proposals open.
    • Panellists will be introduced to each other and to our application review process and platform.
    • Panels will work together with the IOI Engagement Team to host community calls with potential applicants. We’d also love to work with panellists on other ideas to increase accessibility of the funds, especially for the Global Majority.
  • July 15, 2023: Calls for proposals close and application review begins.
    • Panellists will asynchronously review funding proposals.
    • Panellists may meet virtually to discuss and finalise the proposals to put forward for funding.
    • In parallel, the IOI team will conduct due diligence on the final list of proposals to share with IOI Steering and advisory panels.
    • The IOI Steering Committee will then review and approve the proposals to fund. Decisions will be shared back with advisory panels before public announcements.
  • By the end of September, 2023: Inform applicants of the results.

Participation requirements

We aim to bring together 5-10 individuals for each funding opportunity area: technical reliability and security, community governance, and critical and at-risk infrastructure.

Additional requirements and policies are detailed below.

  • All applicants for advisory panels are required to declare conflicts of Interest in line with IOI’s standing policy at the time of application.
  • Conflicts of interest will be evaluated and mediated by IOI staff, and will not immediately disqualify an applicant from participating and also applying for funding. We do aim to ensure funding decisions are made without undue influence or significant bias.
  • Panel applicants from under-represented communities, including those from Low- and Middle- Income Economies (LMIEs), and will be prioritized for participation.
  • Panel applicants would need to be able to communicate and converse in English.
  • Panel applicants would need access to the internet and equipment to participate in virtual calls.
  • Participants are expected to engage in advisory panel work for 8-10 hours per month, and be available for calls with other panel members and IOI staff.

Conflict of Interest Policy

A conflict of interest exists if:

  1. The advisory panel member/reviewer has a financial relationship with the applicant or the applicant’s collaborator(s).
  2. The advisory panel member/reviewer is or previously was in a mentoring relationship with the applicant.
  3. The advisory panel member/reviewer is currently collaborating with the applicant.
  4. The advisory panel member/reviewer is affiliated with (e.g. employed by or a member of) an organisation that is applying.

Applicants are asked to disclose potential conflicts of interest as soon as possible. Advisory panel members are asked to recuse themselves from evaluating or discussing proposals with which they have a conflict of interest. For more on IOI’s Conflict of Interest policy, visit our documentation hub.


Our sincere gratitude to the MetaDocencia team for the Spanish translation of this post and the accompanying survey.

Social media image by Stephen Eickschen on Unsplash.

Posted by Emmy Tsang