Announcing the 2014 HacksLabs Challenge

HacksLabs seeks to provide funding, mentorship and technical support to projects that link the open data movement, data journalism and citizen participation.

Both the Fund and HacksLabs were created by ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Mariano Blejman during the first year of his fellowship.


With this initiative we seek to support the development of both prototypes and large scale projects:

News Applications

We want to support the creation of news applications that help journalists to find and tell stories.

Data Visualizations

We also want to support the creation of visualizations for data-driven stories.

• Interactive News We seek to support stories that allow you to customize your content based on user preferences .

• Analysis tools, scraping, visualization tools, etc. We will fund computer software to facilitate data analysis , opening or recovering data sets, processing, etc.

• Open data platforms We will support web systems that collect, organize and / or facilitate the work with open data

How much

The HacksLabs Challenge 2014 offers US $100,000 in grants to Latin American projects chosen in two rounds:

Small Projects Round— US $2,000

From April 4-30, we invite individuals, teams and / or organizations to submit projects to HacksLabs that require about two months of development.

We will select up to 10 proposals.

Medium-Sized Projects Round— US $10,000

From April 4-June 10, we invite individuals, teams and / or organizations to submit projects to HacksLabs that require three to four months of development. A partnership with a media organization is mandatory. We will select up to eight proposals.


The Fund is designed for different types of entrepreneurs and organizations:

• Media organizations interested in enhancing data journalism projects.
• NGOs that work with news media on issues of transparency.
• Entrepreneurs and open data activists looking to scale their applications.
• Priority will be given to projects that have solid media partners.


In addition to providing small grants to winning projects, HacksLabs offers help to develop prototype data journalism projects or expand existing initiatives with:

• Mentorship and expert guidance in the process of development, the conceptual design of the product, computer functionalities and / or user experience
• Testing , reviewing and advice from communities of Hacks/Hackers in Latin America
• Highlighting projects in blogs and presentations of the product in industry conferences
• Access to new business opportunities, funding and / or subsidies

The network of HacksLabs mentors consists of experts and pioneers who work with organizations such as Knight Foundation, Knight-Mozilla Open News, the World Bank Institute and the International Center for Journalists ( ICFJ ). All the code and data used and produced under the project development will be released in open formats.


To submit a proposal, go to

What is the main criteria for selecting projects?
The HacksLabs jury prioritizes citizens, media partners , developers and members of civil society. We will prioritize projects that develop innovative storytelling , promote new ways for citizens, media and governments to interact, offer services that provide meaningful information for decision makers or offer new forms of participation in the public sphere.

Judges will give preference to applicants who have agreements with civil society organizations as partners to promote or implement the project.

Please visit our website for full guidelines and criteria, a HacksLabs guide and FAQ (frequently asked questions ) related to the challenge .

News Category