Applications open for grants to fund civic science journalism collaborations

The grant opportunity is based on a global research project conducted in 2020 and 2021 by the Center that studied how and why journalists and civil society organizations around the world collaborate to achieve and increase impact.

The research team at the Center, led by Dr. Sarah Stonbely, found that journalists have become more willing to partner with civil society organizations in order to achieve tangible impact on issues such as corruption, governance, climate and environment, and human rights.

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Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Stonbely and the research team analyzed 155 cross-field collaborations, involving 1,010 organizations, based or working in 125 countries around the globe. For civil-society actors, partnering with journalism organizations brings added benefits such as the ability to circulate their findings more widely and in a greater variety of formats; i.e. important findings are now translated into narratives and visual projects in addition to the traditional white paper.

Building on this research with a goal to advance civic science journalism cross-field collaborations in the United States, the Center is partnering with the Rita Allen Foundation — which invests in discoveries in their earliest stages in biomedical research, civic science, and philanthropic practice. Through its work in civic science, Rita Allen seeds networks to accelerate learning, inclusion, and impact to ensure that science, evidence, and public engagement help to inform solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Today, we announce an open call to solicit ideas for new civic science journalism collaborations and projects. A total of 10 grants of up to $15,000 each will be awarded.

This opportunity is meant to fund short-term pilots, not long, multi-year partnerships.

Projects will be prioritized that:

— Emphasize meaningful collaborations between civic science and journalism organizations to achieve shared purpose, including building awareness of civic science issues and potential solutions.

— Involve community engagement with the intended audiences and are relevant to communities, particularly communities where new or deeper engagement with science has the potential to be transformative.

— Have the potential to be a catalyst for future collaborations.

The Center will host two webinars in February and early March to share more about cross-field collaboration and civic science, and answer questions about the grant opportunity. The application will ask applicants to secure their partners before applying — however, the Center will do its best to facilitate collaborators, if needed and possible, ahead of the deadline.

Once the grantees are selected, the Center will host monthly calls to help foster a sense of community among the cohort and learn from each other’s work. Additionally, the Center will survey the grantees to surface areas where additional support, coaching or training may be needed and will provide it.

The open call deadline is March 17, 2023.

⭐ Click here to see the application.

⭐ Click here to sign up for a webinar.

⭐ Click here to sign up for a 1:1 discussion to ask questions about the grant opportunity or get feedback about your idea.

Questions? Email the Center at [email protected].

Application FAQs

Who is eligible to apply?

I’m a freelancer. Can I be a partner?

What can I use the money for?

How much money can I apply for?

I would like to apply, but I don’t have a collaborator in mind.

When will I be notified of my application status?

What is the grant period?

What paperwork will you need from me to disburse the grant?

  • Project budget (showing how the grant funds will be spent)
  • Organizational budget
  • Audited Financial Statements (most recent available, substitutions will be accepted with prior approval)
  • Form 990 (most recent)
  • IRS Tax Determination Letter

Can I apply for more than one project?

What if I need more money than the maximum amount?

How will you judge applications?

  • Does the collaboration proposed focus on civic science, as defined above?
  • Does the project emphasize meaningful collaboration between journalists and civil society organizations to develop new relationships and perspectives that advance civic science?
  • Does the project meaningfully engage underserved communities?
  • Does the project have the potential to be impactful on its intended audience? Or to help contribute to greater understanding of the barriers to collaboration and impact?
  • To what extent does the project involve community engagement with the intended audience?
  • Are at least one civic organization and one journalism partner named in the proposal?
  • Does the journalism partner have quantifiable and significant reach to the intended audience?
  • Does the civic organization partner have a commitment to the concept of civic science?
  • How do the organizations advance diversity, equity, inclusion?
  • Is the proposal right-sized for the requested amount?
  • Are the project costs clear, credible and realistic?

What are my reporting responsibilities if I am awarded, and accept, an award?

Where can I learn more about civic science?

What if you haven’t answered my question in these FAQs?

More about cross-field and civic science collaborations:

WATCH: Open call for civic science collaborative journalism grants

The grant opportunity is based on a global research project conducted in 2020 and 2021 by the Center that studied how and why journalists and civil society organizations around the world collaborate to achieve and increase impact.

WATCH: ICFJ webinar about cross-field collaboration

This session on the ICFJ Pamela Howard Forum on Global Crisis Reporting was organized in partnership with the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.

WATCH: Cross-field collaboration at #CJS2022

The presentation by Sarah Stonbely, PhD, at the 2022 Collaborative Journalism Summit provided an overview of the findings in the cross-field collaborations report, as well as some of the possible implications and takeaways for future cross-field collaborations.

WATCH: Cross-field collaboration at #IJF22

The presentation discussed both quantitative and qualitative findings about this type of cross-field collaboration, including the types of organizations and topics usually involved and covered in these projects, benefits and drawbacks, broad differences observed between projects in the global north and south, the role of trust and journalistic culture, the tension between objectivity and advocacy, and actionable takeaways.

WATCH: Cross-field collaboration webinar

Authors Sarah Stonbely, PhD, and Hanna Siemaszko discuss the findings and conclusions of their report and answered questions from the audience about the possible implications of their research during this virtual public forum, hosted via Zoom on April 20, 2022.

👋 Want to learn more about collaborative journalism?

You can subscribe to our collaborative journalism newsletter for more updates and information. And of course, we invite you to visit to learn more about the topic of collaborative journalism — including our growing database of collaborative journalism projects, which is currently being updated.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. The Center is supported with funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge FoundationDemocracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit