The Transparency and New Technologies Initiative supports organizations to break new ground in enhancing and extending transparency and accountability work through the strategic application of new technologies and data-informed approaches.
Launched in 2009, the Transparency and New Technologies Initiative initially set out to give support both to “born digital” organizations testing experimental approaches and tools, and to existing transparency organizations looking to integrate technology strategically into their work, as well as seeking to build bridges between these two communities. This work employed four key strategies:
- Supporting global software projects like mySociety’s Alaveteli FOI request portal.
- Supporting standards projects like openingparliament.org, an effort to increase and standardize the information coming from national parliaments.
- Providing seed funding to digital leaders like Fundacion Ciudadano Intelligente in Chile or EP Foundation in Poland.
- Supporting established transparency campaigners like Revenue Watch Institute to experiment with publishing core advocacy data in new ways.
In the early years of this Initiative, the bias has been towards supporting projects and approaches that drive the acquisition, contextualization, and presentation of information to increase transparency. While these activities remain important, they need to be pursued in the service of an accountability outcome, rather than for their own sake. Future grantmaking will therefore include more emphasis on two new areas:
- Encouraging the use of data in advocacy for greater accountability.
- Developing the evidence base on the impact of data and technology in the transparency and accountability sector.
The overarching purpose of this initiative is to support the development of the field globally, including supporting the development of global expertise. As such, the initiative does not consider requests for funding for national or municipal-level projects, such as election monitoring websites or freedom of information portals, that are local instances of tried and tested approaches elsewhere. For local projects to receive support, they must first demonstrate how they move the field forward, or forge a new direction.
The initiative only rarely supports stand-alone research, but we encourage organizations proposing projects to consider impact assessment as an integral part of project work.
The Transparency and New Technologies Initiative will always consider applications from new partners whose purpose and priorities (see above) match our own. If you are considering applying for funding under this initiative, please send a one- to two-page concept paper to firstname.lastname@example.org. The paper should include the following information:
- A brief description of the project goals and planned activities.
- A brief explanation of the theory of change that underpins the project.
- Information about the applicant organization and project partners.
- An idea of how much your project will cost.
The Transparency and New Technologies Initiative has a crowded program of work for 2013. We are always open to applications for projects from new partners whose purpose and priorities match our own, however we cannot guarantee to fund your project. We endeavor to respond to applications for funds that meet the above criteria within two months.