STF awards €858,560 for 2nd round of Contribute Back Challenges

By Powen Shiah

In News

In June 2023, the Sovereign Tech Fund launched the Contribute Back Challenges, calling for companies, organizations, and others using free and open source software to participate actively in FOSS projects. Here are the five participants in the second round, which runs from January through April 2024.

For the Contribute Back Challenges’ first round, nine FOSS teams participated from September to December 2023. In their reports for this first round, participants outlined the impact of the work on the open source component and communities and the difficulties they faced. Summaries are available on the individual technology pages.

The Second Round

At the end of December 2023, the jury selected five teams to participate in the second round of the Contribute Back Challenges.

These teams are receiving a total of €858,560 for their work on these open source technologies from January through April 2024.

Application & Selection

With the final report for the first round, participants had the opportunity to apply for the second round of the Contribute Back Challenges, receiving up to €300,000 from the STF to continue work on implementing new solutions over a second four-month period.

In the report, STF asked the applicants for the second round to describe

  • What they would like to work on and how it builds on the accomplishments in the first round
  • Which milestones they want to achieve and on what timeframe
  • How this work will impact the technology after the Contribute Back Challenges have ended
  • The breakdown of the total costs
  • Team composition

The selection of participating projects for the second round took place in a joint session with the STF and external experts Dawn Foster and Ben Cotton. The jury reviewed based on the progress of the projects and these criteria:

  1. Degree of Progress (Maturity)
  2. Degree of Sustainability
  3. Degree of Feasibility

About STF’s Contribute Back Challenges

The STF focuses on long-term sustainability, maintenance, and security. For the Contribute Back Challenges program, we’ve borrowed a funding and procurement mechanism commonly used in Germany for what are known as “innovation competitions” to find new, faster ways to invest in the FOSS ecosystem. The advantage of adapting the competition format for this special program is that we were able to act quickly and streamline the application, selection, and contractual process.

For the first round, in less than two months from the application deadline, the selected projects were able to start work! For the second round, in less than two weeks from the report submission deadline, the selected projects could continue work.

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