The JUST Grant

Built on the open source principles of transparency, education, and collaboration, JUST Open Source Stiftung drives the Web3 conversation concerning the operational ramifications of building cutting edge technology. We believe the key to realizing the Web3 promise of self sovereignty and data custody is to educate the general population about decentralized tech and to support research that drives adoption.

Since 2015, our team has witnessed the trajectory of blockchain development. We were in the room when major players made core decisions. We had a hand in the formulating of on-chain governance mechanisms as part of the diverse collectives. We analyzed technical decisions as members of organizations like Web3 Foundation, Ethereum, and Parity Technologies, among others.

We were there. This is why we’ve built the JUST Grant.

We’ve seen funding pour into building the Web3 technical foundations. While we understand that the tech is essential to building a peer-to-peer future, we also recognize that accelerating adoption requires us to create viable businesses robust enough to operate in the real world.

In our first grant cohort, we are giving three independent research projects up to €20,000 to supplement their investigative efforts. We fund the thinkers, the visionaries, and the dreamers looking to push the boundaries of the decentralized web. More than ideas, we want people who know how to get stuff done, folks who aren’t afraid to experiment and evolve. We want results.

Program starts August 1, 2024 and lasts 12 months.

• Applicants must be based in Germany
• Applicants must be EITHER currently enrolled in masters or doctoral program or affiliated with an academic institution or research entity. In the latter case, applicant should still possess a masters degree at minimum.
• Proposals must be submitted in PDF format
• Proposals must be in English
• Proposals must include a detailed description, budget, and timeline for the proposed scope of work
• Proposals must include a 400 word personal statement
• Proposals must include a resume
• Proposals must include link to public repository or published work
• Applicants should submit the names and email addresses for two academic recommenders
• All phases of research welcome

We will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

• Impact of the proposed research output
• Quality of work and experience of the researcher / research team
• Clarity, conciseness, and organization of the proposal
• Contribution to the focus areas
• Potential of long-term advancement and adoption of Web3 technologies
• Analyses of visualizations that help a non-technical audience gain insight into the research
• Research output must be open access with a free and permissive license

Applications are selected for funding on a case-by-case basis. You may only submit one proposal. Submissions will be reviewed using the following considerations. Depending on the proposal, some criteria might not be applicable.

We believe in transparency. While you may hear back sooner, the process will take roughly 6-8 weeks. While we’d like to give feedback to all applicants, we will not be able to. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Step 1: You submit the application
  • Step 2: Our evaluation committee will select the shortlist. We’ll let you know if you’re on that list. Shortlisted applicants will then undergo a rigorous due-diligence process. As part of the evaluation, the committee will ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled, including the institution affiliation requirement. Here, they will evaluate research entities that are academic in nature, but not necessarily universities.
  • Step 3: Our evaluation committee will pick the finalists and send them to our board for final approval.
  • Step 4: We’ll contact successful applicants  
  • Step 5: We’ll release the first installment  

Application Deadline 1: May 30, 2024
Application Deadline 2: June 28, 2024
Application Deadline 3: July 12, 2024 - While space lasts

Applications submitted after recipients are selected, may opt to be considered for the 2025 cohort

Decisions Emailed Out (6-8 Week Decision Process): July 25, 2024 (Latest)
Grant Installment 1: August 2024
Grant Installment 2: November 2024
Grant Installment 3: March 2025
Grant Installment 4: July 2025

Grantees are expected to produce at least one paper under peer-review in major publication by the end of the program. Additionally, grantees should be available for case study interviews and allow publication of work snippets on JUST Open Source Stiftung channels.

Other acceptable accomplishments:
• Publications in major web magazines
• Invitations to major conferences in your field
• Further grant procurement

Focus topics

The current economic landscape skews DeFi, but with distributed ledger technologies there are applications that require different incentives and financial structures. For us, understanding the myriad economic landscapes is important for Web3 adoption.

  • Open source economy
  • Creator economy
  • Tokenomics
  • Game theory

For Web3 organizations to exist on a larger scale, businesses must navigate the evolving legal regulations around blockchain and P2P technologies

  • Non-US Market Regulatory Landscape — Analyzing how regulatory developments in different jurisdictions affect the Web3 market and ecosystem
  • Token systems and community ownership from legal perspective - Identifying problems and solutions, use cases, recommendations to policymakers
  • Impact of open source licensing research with a particular interest on GPL v.3/OSS on local markets and legal adoption barriers

In our decentralized future, how do we govern and build fair ecosystems? Our interests lie in the following areas:

  • Consensus models and mechanisms, Governance mechanisms (on-chain and off-chain)
  • Governance formalization processes
  • Governance and decentralization - power distribution
  • Comparative analysis on governance models
  • Potential threats to governance models - legal threats and security breaches

We are interested in analytical market research that looks at markets and trends from an academic lens. Some specific areas include:

  • Cross-chain analysis of asset and information flow across different blockchain networks to identify new opportunities
  • User behavior research and identification of adoption drivers and barriers

Decentralized communities and open source building come with their own challenges. We're interested in the following categories:

  • Successful community ownership
  • Systems for shared ownership
  • Data ownership
  • Collaborative creation on open source environments
  • We are interested in onchain/digital identity and anonymity, specifically exploring ways to manage identities securely and privately on the blockchain, enabling users to control their own data

We’re open to more topics, but those that fall into the above buckets will be given priority.

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What (and who) we fund

What we don’t fund

In collaboration with

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Can the publications I submit be in German?

Yes, but please submit a detailed abstract in English.

Do I need to be affiliated with a German institution?

The only requirement is that at least one main researcher in the project be based in Germany.

Do I need to be based in Berlin to apply?

No, but you do need to be based in Germany. Eventually, we’ll branch out to other locations.

What if I miss the deadline?

You’ll have to wait until the next cohort. BUT! In the short term, you can join our Matrix community to continue the discussion with other like minded researchers.

Got more questions?

Get in touch at grants[at]