How to Apply
Whether you're working on a specific project, or you're still exploring possibilities, you can connect with our team for guidance.
Project grants undergo an intensive process of review and potentially rescoping. There is no hard limit on the size of the request, and the timeline for a decision is typically two months but varies depending on factors such as the technical nature of the work, amount of due diligence required, and how much revision is required from the original proposal. A Project Grant might be a good fit if any of the following apply to your project:
- More complex, or larger in scope: the proposed work has multiple components or stages, a longer project timeline, or will require you to make new long-term hires.
- Higher-cost: your expected budget exceeds $30,000.
- A mature idea: you have thought deeply about your goals and strategy, asked yourself difficult questions to validate your approach, and thoroughly researched the state of the art in your chosen domain.
If you're feeling uncertain about anything in the application, please consider signing up for Office Hours before submitting.
You'll need to fill out the form on the next page as well as a long-form application where you'll go into depth about your goals, motivations, plans and intended impact. Make sure you have read and understood our scope and criteria, and see below for advice on crafting a great application. After submitting, you'll receive a confirmation email within two business days.
Evaluate and refine
If we determine that a project is in scope for ESP support, we'll begin a deeper evaluation of the project's technical approach, potential impact, risks, and other factors. Our next steps might include gathering more information, getting input from advisors, and working with you to refine or rescope the project proposal.
Once the proposal is finalized, we'll make an allocation decision based on our assessment as well as input received from advisors. Decision time for a project grant application varies depending on scope and complexity, and may take a few months from when the application was first submitted.
We sign a grant agreement, complete KYC and send funds in fiat, ETH or DAI - and you get to work! You'll have a point of contact at the EF who will check in with you regularly as you progress with your work.
We're flexible in many ways, but we do have some hard rules for the projects we fund:
- Work funded by ESP grants must benefit Ethereum in a way that aligns with ESP's mission and scope.
- Any output must be open source or otherwise freely available; for-profit companies are welcome to apply but the specific grant funded work must be non-commercial.
We are happy to hear from all kinds of contributors who are working within our scope:
- Individuals, teams or organizations.
- Established projects, newcomers to Ethereum, past grantees or applicants.
- Any area of expertise - we work with developers, researchers, academics, designers, educators, communicators, community organizers, and more.
- Projects at any point in the development process: just an idea, early stages, proof of concept, or with significant progress already made. However, we do not fund past work.
- Builders of any age, origin, identity or background.
What is NOT eligible
- Anything that is not legal within the jurisdiction where the work is taking place.
- Financial products (trading, investment products, lending, betting etc).
- Projects with a planned token launch or public funding round.
- Art projects or charities that don't fit within our scope.
Tips for submitting a great application
The information you submit here is what we'll use to make a decision about whether to proceed with your grant application, so take the time to understand what we're looking for and answer the form questions thoughtfully. When evaluating your application, we look for much more than just an explanation of the proposed work. In order to determine the potential impact on the ecosystem, we need a deeper understanding of both the “why” and the “how” of the project. Some things to keep in mind:
- Be specific: we want you to share your grand vision - but you also need to tell us, concretely, how you plan to achieve your goals.
- Be thorough: the more information you can provide in a grant application, the better. We encourage you to provide any supporting documents such as whitepapers, research papers, or slides from presentations you've given about your project.
- Show your work: we expect you to have made a meaningful effort to validate and refine your approach and researched what other solutions are being developed, and to be able to articulate how yours is different.
- Dig deeper: we want to know what problem you're trying to solve, but also why you think it's important to solve that specific problem, how solving it will benefit Ethereum and how it fits within our mission.
- Think broader: how does your project connect to, complement and enable the work of others? How can you make sure your work stays relevant and has a sustained impact?
- Identify output (what is produced) as well as outcome (what is accomplished): what will be the tangible result of your work - a research paper, a code repo, a community event, a working prototype? Who will use it, and how will they access it?
- Be realistic: we'll consider the funding amount you request in relation to the proposed scope of work, so go with a number that reflects what you think you'll need for the specific work in your proposal. Remember that being awarded a grant now doesn't mean you can't apply for additional funding later!
- Be flexible: project grant proposals can undergo significant revision in the evaluation process. We often take a modular approach, breaking the project up into components or phases and considering each one individually. The goal of this process is not to nickel and dime you - it's to delineate the idea more clearly, identifying places we can mitigate risks and test assumptions, so that we can maximize the impact of our support. Even as you're crafting your application, we ask you to start thinking about different potential paths to achieving your goals.