The Simon Cumbers Media Fund enables journalists and media professionals to report on stories of contemporary life in developing countries that would otherwise not be told to an Irish audience. Media professionals have the opportunity to apply for funding twice a year – in the summer, and in the winter. The Fund also supports a student round each year.
Applications from media professionals from all disciplines and outlets are encouraged. Photographers are also invited to apply for funding to present a photographic exhibition as part of their submission. Applicants submitting a proposal for an exhibition must demonstrate a track record of professional photography and, ideally, of mounting an exhibition.
Proposed projects should focus on international development themes, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and applicants must demonstrate the relevance of their project to A Better World, Ireland’s Policy for International Development. These priority areas include gender equality, trade and economic growth, education, human rights and the environment.
Successful applications are chosen by a judging panel made up of representatives from Irish Aid, the Cumbers Family and a number of individual media and development experts. The judging panel will base its decision to grant all / part-funding* on the following criteria:
- Quality of the proposal.
- Value for money.
- Reach of the project (i.e. the ability of the project to reach high audience numbers and prominence in the publication or broadcast outlet / ability of the project to secure coverage across range of national/regional media outlets or formats). Maximising the impact of the project through other media will also be taken into account.
- Relevance to A Better World, Ireland’s Policy for International Development and potential to increase public understanding of global development issues.
- Link with sub-Saharan Africa / Irish Aid partner countries
1 – What is funded?
1.1 The Fund is intended to cover costs associated with media personnel travelling to a developing country for the production of development-related articles or reports that would not normally be covered by a media organisation’s news budget.
1.2 Media organisations, media professionals or media students can apply for funding.
1.3 Applications will be accepted for print, broadcast and online projects, with a preference for multimedia projects.
1.4 Applications for photographic exhibitions that support a primary project will also be accepted, provided there is a clear photographic element to the main project proposal. The applicant must clearly set out how they will use the exhibition to increase the reach of the project and raise understanding of development issues.
1.5 Applications solely for a photographic exhibition will not be considered by the judges.
1.6 Joint applications, for example between a journalist and a photographer, are permitted, but the applicant must indicate strong reasons for the proposed collaboration.
2 – Applicant Requirements
2.1 Applicants may only submit one project proposal and one exhibition proposal in each funding round.
2.2 The proposed media project must be new, i.e. it must not have been broadcast, published or exhibited in any format previously. Please see the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Project Showcase for examples of funded projects.
2.3 The primary audience of all media / exhibition outlets must be in the Republic of Ireland.
2.4 Submissions that have a film festival / exhibition as their main outlet will not be considered as a primary publication outlet.
2.5 Applicants who are already in receipt of grants from other funding streams within Irish Aid for their proposed project will not be eligible to apply.
2.6 In the case of a joint application, one person must be nominated as the ‘lead’ contract, with whom the contract will be addressed. It will be the responsibility of the lead contact to notify DHR Communications, on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, of any changes to their project / personnel prior to travel. Failure to do so will result in the withdrawal of funding. In the event of a disagreement between the two parties, administrators will deem the lead applicant as the person charged with delivery of the project.
3 – Themes
3.1 Proposed media projects should focus on international development themes and should reflect the modern reality of life in developing countries in the context of international development; challenge stereotypes and /or seek to portray positive developments, as well as exploring the challenges; explore themes of innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship. Proposals should focus on international development themes, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Applicants must clearly demonstrate the relevance of their proposed project to one or more of the priorities in A Better World, Ireland’s Policy for International Development.
3.2 Applications that promote the work of a single agency / organisation or are of a campaigning nature will not be considered. Applicants are expected to collaborate with a range of NGOs / agencies and authorities and communities in their country of destination when researching and producing their media output.
4 – Judging
4.1 The Simon Cumbers Media Fund judging panel will base its decision to grant all / part-funding* on the following criteria:
- Quality of the proposal.
- Value for money.
- Reach of the project (i.e. the ability of the project to reach high audience numbers and prominence in the publication or broadcast outlet / ability of the project to secure coverage across a range of national/regional media outlets or formats). Maximising the impact of the project through other media will also be taken into account.
- Relevance to one or more of the priorities in A Better World, Ireland’s Policy for International Development.
- Link with sub-Saharan Africa / Irish Aid partner countries.
*Based on the quality of applications received, the panel may decide to award partial funding to certain applicants.
4.2 Where there are two very similar proposals from the same media organisation, judges will only allocate funding for one proposal.
4.3 Judges will base their decision on whether to fund a photographic exhibition on the main project proposal and also the track record/experience of the photographer. Applicants submitting a proposal for an exhibition must demonstrate a track record of professional photography and, ideally, of mounting an exhibition.
4.4 Successful applications will be chosen by a judging panel made up of representatives from the following organisations / groups:
- The Cumbers family;
- Media experts;
- Irish Aid;
- Development experts.
5 – Research
Applicants are required to demonstrate that they have undertaken some preliminary work regarding the treatment of their proposed story (e.g. who they will interview; how they will source contact etc.), and this should be addressed in Section 5 of the online application form.
6 – Acknowledgement
Each project funded by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund must publicly acknowledge the support received, using the official Fund logo and the following wording: ‘Supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund’. This logo and wording must be used in all broadcasts, print outputs, photographic outputs and online outputs associated with the project. A high-resolution image of the logo is available on request from the Fund administrators.
7 – Eligible Costs
7.1 Funding sought must be for costs to facilitate the project, for example, travel; out-of-pocket expenses (accommodation, subsistence, etc.); research expenses (publications or attendance at a conference or event); and resources (aids or equipment rental to facilitate your project). In the case of applications for the funding of an exhibition, these costs may cover the printing and mounting of photographs.
7.2 The Fund will not cover staff wages or production costs, or travel within Ireland. Applicants must demonstrate their capacity to cover ‘in-kind’ costs (such as production costs associated with publishing or broadcasting the proposed media project). Funding will not be granted for retrospective work or capital expenses (i.e. purchase of equipment, furnishings, etc.). Please see the sample budget list here for further details.
7.3 In an effort to promote sustainability and to help the local economy, collaboration between applicants and local stakeholders and service providers, such as photographers, is encouraged.
7.4 Applicants are expected to source the best value available in relation to flights, transport, accommodation and any other costs associated with their project.
7.5 The maximum amount of funding available is €10,000, but the judging panel is not obliged to award the maximum in any case. The maximum award will only be granted to projects that have a significant national reach and are deemed by the judging panel to fulfil all of the objectives of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.
7.6 The only funding amount that will be considered by the judges is that which is costed in the budget form.
8 – Travel
8.1 Applicants undertake to familiarise themselves with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s travel advice regarding their country of destination and to monitor it regularly in the lead up to and during their visit.
8.2 The Fund reserves the right to withhold funding in instances where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises Irish citizens against travel to certain destinations.
8.3 Applicants should contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country to which they intend to travel to determine the visa and permit procedures required for them to work in that country.
8.4 Applicants must secure the necessary visa required for their work in their country of travel. Where a journalist visa is required, recipients must travel on that visa.
NOTE: The Simon Cumbers Media Fund does not fund journalists to travel to war-zones or to cover conflicts.
9 – Contractual Conditions
9.1 Applicants must give their tax (PPS) number if successful. Applicants receiving funding of €6,350 or more must provide a tax clearance certificate to demonstrate that their tax affairs are in order.
9.2 Successful applicants may be invited to attend events to showcase the work and outputs arising from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. As a condition of funding, they will be expected to cooperate with the Fund administrators in the event of being invited to participate in showcasing activities.
9.3 The copyright of the final product will remain with the applicant. However, materials produced must be made available – free of charge – for potential future use by Irish Aid, including on the Irish Aid website. Irish Aid will at all times acknowledge copyright.
9.4 Work on projects that receive funding in the summer round must commence before 31st December of that year, with a view to being published / broadcast by 30th June of the following year.
9.5 Work on projects that receive funding in the winter round must commence before 30th June of the following year, with a view to being published / broadcast by 31st December of that year.