We consider the Prototype Fund to be a prototype itself. The program is the first of its kind in Switzerland. We are continuously engaged in improving and adapting the program. After each grant period, we will conduct an evaluation for which we rely on your feedback in order to make the next term even better. In the next three years, we want to learn a lot, share our experiences with you, and help you achieve your plans and projects.


1. Who can apply?

In principle: everyone with an innovative idea for a digital tool with a high potential for positive impact on democratic participation. You also need to have a Swiss work permit and be above 18 years (legal adult) (Swiss citizenship is not required). We look forward to applications from everyone – independent of origin, age, religion, sexual identity, disabilities or skin color. 

Your project idea matters! We strive to find solutions for all questions related to personnel and legal form. Let’s exchange ideas!  Find us at events, on Twitter, Telegram or write us an e-mail.

Public institutions and universities are not eligible for application. (We suggest you check out CivicChallenge.) 

2. What does the Prototype Fund offer?

  • Up to CHF 100,000 in funding (mainly) for salaries over six months from beginning of September 2020 to end of February 2021.
  • At least 5 hours of individual and need-based coaching (e.g. in coding or user-centered design) during the funding period.
  • Media outreach through our network.
  • Financing contacts: During the project term, we make it a priority to connect the project teams with potential partners and support programs. Sustainability is very important to us and we strive to help the project participants to secure perspectives for their projects and assure the further development and re-use of their prototypes.

3. What constitutes a prototype?

For our purposes, a prototype is an early working system of a software-programmed tool or application. Thus, the phase of prototyping follows after exploring the problem, testing the existing solutions and evaluating the needs of the target group. This synthesized knowledge will guide the process of prototyping. The existence of a prototype allows to test whether the tool fulfills its aims and is the basis of further improvements.  


4. Which kinds of projects can get funding?

We support innovative digital projects that promote smart participation in the Swiss democracy. Check out the project criteria used by the jury and read more about digital democracy.

5. How much funding can I apply for?

You can apply for up to CHF 100,000 in funding for salaries over a period of six months. We require a general project plan with about four milestones and a budget plan. The budget needs to include information about your daily (hourly) salary. It should also detail how many days (hours) are allocated to each team member and/or describe how many days (hours) you plan to spend on different type of activities. More information will follow when the application process opens on 17 March 2020 (sign up).

6. How complicated is the application process?

We try to keep it as simple as possible for you. You can sign up here to be informed when the application process opens on Tuesday 17 March 2020. The submission period ends on Thursday 14 May 2020. We recommend to apply early so we have more time to resolve any remaining questions about your submissions. 


7. Where can I submit my project proposal?

You can sign up here to be informed when the application process opens on Tuesday 17 March 2020.

8. Who selects the projects?

A jury of experts will evaluate and rate all submissions. You can learn more about our competent jury members here.

9.  What are the criteria?



Their joint decision will be based on these project criteria.

10 What is the application window?

The Prototype Fund Switzerland will have at least one founding round which lasts from 17-03-2020 to 14-05-2020 (Timeline).

We recommend you to apply early so we have more time to resolve any remaining questions about your submissions.

11. Can I apply with several projects at the same time?

Yes, you can. But you can only get funding for one project per application round.

12. Can I reapply with the same project if I was rejected in one funding round?

Yes, you can.

13. Can I apply with an already existing prototype?

Yes, you can. However, your proposal needsought to be clearly defined and have its own degree of novelty, e.g. you plan to expand or enhance your pre-existing project with a new module. In any case, you need to make clear what you will be working on during the 6-month funding period.

14. In which language can I submit my proposal?

We accept applications in English, French, German, and Italian.