Consultation on Engineering Working Group Microgrant proposal and evaluation templates

The Engineering Working Group (EWG) is working on the structures to support a microgrant program, once funding is settled. The overall goal is to develop a transparent and fair process, that results in greatest benefit to the OSM technical ecosystem.

We have previously developed the project funding framework Engineering Working Group/Project Funding Framework - OpenStreetMap Foundation, and are now working on templates for proposals and evaluation.

We like to get feedback on these templates. Are all important questions on proposals covered? Are the instructions clear and the level of effort to propose and evaluate set correctly?

Note there are additional process questions under discussion, such as how proposal evaluators are chosen, and how final selection is decided. Input welcome here as well. Also note we expect some updates to the project funding framework to align with any updates under discussion.

Please share viewpoints here, on the tickets, or if you prefer directly with We will receive your input of the next 2 weeks until April 22.

-Mikel and Salim on behalf of the Engineering Working Group


I’m not quite sure why the community is being asked for input on some forms, but not on the concept / criteria / programme for receiving some fairy dust itself.

That is correct, this consultation is not on the concept of EWG microgrants. If you want to give substantial input on that, such as particular risks to keep in mind, along with even better solutions on how to mitigate, that would still be helpful.

The consultation is asking about the criteria. If you look at the proposal and scoring template, you’ll see what questions are being asked and how they’re assessed. Input here is exactly what we’re looking for.

Comment/Question regarding this section:

Is a somewhat pro-bono or ‘unrealistically low budget’ acceptable?
Does this not result in a lower score during evaluation?

I am asking because the previously accepted project funding framework includes this sentence:

“Bids must be reasonably priced. Bids with an unusually high cost or an unrealistically low cost may be rejected.”

Perhaps it would be beneficial to clarify this section to ensure it is clear for both applicants and evaluators.

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Good call out to add clarification here. I think the intention about “unrealistically low” is to assess whether the funds are realistic and sufficient to meet the objectives. If someone was proposing to do work at a discount rate, maybe that should be indicated as well.


comment for the: ‘Microgrant Idea Scoring Template

For the "Impact" part:

  • What criteria determine if an issue is ‘substantial’ or a need is ‘critical’? ( please add more clarification )
  • Should projects with potential negative impacts receive the lowest score ? ( impact score = 1)

It seems that projects with a high impact but a low probability of success might be underrated, because their feasibility scores can significantly lower the overall score.
In contrast, projects with a “negative impact but high probability of success” might end up with a higher score.

Perhaps a mandatory qualitative feedback would be useful, which must explain the rationale for the given scores, particularly for very high or very low scores.

Please allow exceptions in scoring for projects that are deemed exceptionally innovative or risky.

Consider giving more weight to impact for highly innovative projects, even if their feasibility is lower.

Yes we can add a bit on defining impact.

If a project has negative impact, yes it would get a low score. I don’t think we’d need to differentiate between having no impact and negative impact – the result in either case would be a rejected proposal.

Also good point on high impact but low probability. Risky projects should be consider. But one point here to know is that the scoring is not the end point, but a guide for help on the decisions. It will not be a simple numerically calculation to decide on a project.

I don’t know about mandatory qualitative feedback, but I like the idea to push for rationale if there is something not apparent from the scores themselves.

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Thanks for the input over the past couple weeks. Here is a short summary of input we can bring back to the templates.

  • In the budget section, ask if the funds requested are only a portion of the cost. The totality of cost might be covered by other sources, or via pro-bono or discounted rates.
  • Add more definition of what substantial and critical impact looks like.
  • Add a note at the top about the scoring being a guide to help on the decisions, but not a numerically defined end point. For example, that means that in judgment a high impact but high risk project might be worth doing. in the feasibility assessment that risky projects are ok.
  • In the comments section, solicit more qualitative feedback, especially if rationale is not apparent from the scores themselves.