The Simon Cumbers Media Fund


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July 25th, 2017

Life for young refugees in Greek registration camps

Winter 2016 recipient Jennifer Hough travelled to Greece to report on how young refugees are being received on the frontlines of host nations. Almost 90,000 Read more

July 19th, 2017

Farming issues in Uganda and Kenya

Winter 2016 recipient Thomas Hubert was funded to travel to Uganda and Kenya to examine how infrastructure and digital technologies can help local farmers to Read more

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Funding Guidelines

Below are general application guidelines. Please check back for round-specific guidelines when rounds are open.

Who Can Apply?

  • Media organisations, media professionals or media students can apply for funding.
  • Applications for print or broadcast projects will be accepted, as well as for photographic and new media projects.
  • Joint applications, for example between a journalist and a photographer, are permitted; but the applicant must indicate strong reasons for the proposed collaboration.
  • All applicants applying to the main round are eligible to apply for funding to cover photographic exhibition costs, provided there is a photographic element in their main project proposal, and the applicant clearly sets out how they will use the exhibition to increase the reach of the project and raise understanding of development issues.
  • Applications solely for a photographic exhibition will not be considered by the judges.

Applicant Requirements

  • Applicants may only submit one project proposal and one exhibition proposal in each funding round.
  • 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
  • The primary audience of all media / exhibition outlets should be in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Submissions which have a film festival / exhibition as their main outlet will not be considered as a primary publication outlet. However, applicants may wish to include their work at a film festival / exhibition in addition to their main outlet, in order to achieve a greater overall reach.
  • 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.

Themes and Judges’ Criteria

  • 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.
  • The Fund is intended for the provision of grants to finance costs associated with travelling to a developing country for the production of articles, features or reports focusing on development issues that would not normally be covered from within a media organisation’s news budget.
  • Proposed media projects should focus on international development themes, including the challenges faced by developing countries and the progress which is being achieved. Applicants must demonstrate the relevance of their project to one or more of the seven Irish Aid Priority Areas for Action. These priority areas for action can be grouped into the following categories: Global Hunger, Fragile States and Situations, Climate Change, Trade and Economic Growth, Essential Services, Human Rights and Accountability and Humanitarian Assistance.
  • 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 the seven Irish Aid Priority Areas for Action and potential to increase public understanding of global development issues.
    > Link with sub-Saharan Africa / Irish Aid partner countries.
    > 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.

* Based on the quality of applications received, the panel may decide to award partial funding to certain applicants.


  • 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 3 of the application form.


  • 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.

Eligible Costs

  • 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.
  • The Fund will not cover staff wages or production costs. 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 for further details.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Applicants are advised to contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country to which they intend to travel in order to determine the visa and permit procedures that are required for them to work in that country.
  • Applicants must secure the necessary journalist visa required for their work in their country of travel.
  • NOTE: The Simon Cumbers Media Fund does not fund journalists to travel to war-zones or to cover conflicts.

Contractual Conditions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 

Applicants should note the following

  • In an effort to promote sustainability and to help the local economy, collaboration between applicants and local stakeholders and service providers is encouraged. To this end, for example, if a print media project requires specific photographs, the applicant is encouraged to explore a potential alliance with a local photographer in the country in which the project will be set.
  • Successful applicants are expected to source the best value available in relation to flights, transport, accommodation and any other costs associated with their project.
  • While joint applications are permitted, for value for money reasons, the judges would encourage applicants to use a local photographer, unless a second person can be justified.
  • 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.
  • €10,000 is the maximum amount of funding available to any applicant, but the judging panel is not obliged to award the maximum in any case. The average grant allocated in 2015 was €3,340. 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.
  • Applicants are advised to check with their commissioning editor to see if other applications presenting similar topics and in similar locations have received a commitment for publication for the same round. Note: Where there are two very similar proposals from the same media organisation, judges will only allocate funding for one proposal.
  • 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.

Selection of Successful Projects

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.

Further Information

If you have questions about the Simon Cumbers Media Fund, or any aspect of the application process, please contact:
Simon Cumbers Media Fund, c/o DHR Communications

Tel: 01-4200580