Introducing Public Developer Grants

TL/DR

We are starting a new experimental initiative to increase transparency and community involvement in the DFINITY Developer Grants Program.

In the initial phase, we would steer all USD 5k (micro grants) toward a public review and invite the community to offer feedback and participate in the evaluation process.

Go live will be Monday, April 1st (no joke :slight_smile: ). The initiative will be in a trial period of ~12 weeks after which we’ll evaluate the impact and solidify, adjust, or discontinue.

If all goes well, we would look at subsequently expanding this initiative to include larger grants.

  • If you want to participate as an official reviewer please apply via this form.
  • Get yourself familiar with the evaluation rubric.

Context

The DFINITY Developer Grants Program has three general funding tiers:

  • USD 5,000 (micro)
  • USD 25,000 (medium)
  • USD 100,000 (large, in general only available for follow-on grants that have proven value to the ecosystem)

All grants are paid in ICP.

With this initiative, we’ll ask applicants for the micro tier to publish their grant proposals in this forum category, to allow for community deliberation and feedback. The main goal is to increase the impact of the grants by enabling collaboration between new grantees and the established ICP community.

How it works

Grant evaluation rubric

Score Comment
Basics
Project Description 1-3 Is the project well-described? Is it clear what the team wants to build, and how?
Innovation 1-5 Does the project bring something unique to ICP? Has there been similar such projects in the ecosystem?
Milestones 1-3 Are the milestones and deliverables clearly defined, achievable and verifiable? Code/feature deliverables are preferred.
Team Qualifications 1-5 How qualified is the team to build this project? Do they have a strong track record? Do they have experience building on ICP?
Technical Review
Feasibility 1-5 Can this project be built? Are there technical blockers or dependencies? Are there regulation or compliance challenges?
Technical complexity 1-3 Is the project straightforward to build (score = 1-2) or are there interesting/hard technical challenges to overcome (score = 2-3)?
Usage of ICP capabilities 1-5 Will the project use a wide variety of ICP capabilities, such as vetKeys, Chain-key signatures, HTTPS Outcalls etc.?
Outcome
Reaching POC/MVP 1-5 How far will the grant take the project? Will the project reach a POC, MVP and/or launchable stage?
Showcase Potential 1-5 Is this a good showcase of the capabilities of ICP?
Open Source 1/3 Will the code be open sourced? 1 = No, 3 = Yes
Ecosystem 1-5 How useful is this project for the ecosystem? Can other devs learn from this project, use this project in their own projects, or has this potential to attract people to the ecosystem ?

1 = Low, 5 = High, the higher the score the better.

Evaluation of the initiative

This initiative will be on a trial for the next ~12 weeks and we will evaluate the impact according to the following (preliminary) criteria:

  • Number and quality of community reviews
  • Quality and impact of feedback and discussions
  • Feedback from grantees
  • Feedback from DFINITY Developer Grants review committee

Get involved

Please chime in if you have any suggestions, concerns, or questions regarding this initiative.
Furthermore, please consider signing up to contribute as a reviewer.

28 Likes

Love it!

I guess the only thing you haven’t stated is What would be the minimum score required to be approved. Or maybe the total score matters less than how it compares to other candidates?

2 Likes

Hey @marcpp,

Thank you for the feedback!

During this trial period, we will assess the effectiveness of the total score as an indicator. Furthermore, the review form will include a straightforward question asking the reviewer whether they would recommend the grant. For the time being, the final decision will continue to be made by the DFINITY Developer Grants committee.

4 Likes

The minimum score required for approval may vary depending on the specific criteria set by the organization. However, the total score is often considered in comparison to other candidates during the evaluation process.

1 Like

A bit of direction on how to vote for N/A categories would be nice. For example, developer tooling grants won’t use IC features but are essential to adoption and I don’t want to dock points.

3 Likes

@domwoe thank you for kicking off this initiative. I’m working on my first review now and I have a question and some feedback.

At the bottom of the evaluation rubric it states that a higher score is better, but the comment on “Technical Complexity” states that that a higher score should be used when a project has more technical challenges to overcome. Was that intentional; is more complexity supposed to be a good thing?

Would it be possible to add a “What are your qualifications?” field to the project form? We are asked to evaluate “Team Qualifications” but don’t have anything to base this evaluation on. I know I can do my own research but I think it would be helpful if the team told me why they think they are qualified first.

Don’t worry too much about this for now, but it might make sense to have two different rubrics for tooling/infra and applications.

Thank you and thanks a lot for jumping in as a reviewer :pray:

It was intentional, though we are a bit uneasy about it as well. Obviously, we want the simplest solution possible. However, we want

  1. Get an estimation from the reviewers about the technical complexity of the project.
  2. Reward if (necessary) technical challenges have to be solved.

The final score will also be only an indicator, and we’d love to hear potential improvements.

Noted.

2 Likes