Funding Process

A funding round for Project Catalyst happens around every 12 weeks. In each funding round community members can submit proposals to any of the challenges available. Challenges in a funding round will go through phases and stages which takes ideas through to a governance decision and execution.


What is a challenge?

A challenge identifies problems or areas for improvement within the Cardano ecosystem. A challenge is made up of a challenge brief, a problem statement, what success looks like, success metrics, an allocated amount available for funding and then also some guiding questions or potential directions that proposers may look to take when proposing ideas to address that challenge.

What is the maximum amount of funding someone can receive?

Anyone can submit any number of proposals to address one or all of the challenges available in each funding round. It is up to the community to decide which proposals get funding during the governance phase of the funding process.

What is challenge setting?

In each funding round you will often find a challenge called challenge setting. The purpose of challenge setting is to let the community decide what challenges should be made available in future funding rounds. Proposals made for challenge setting should identify what the problem is, the amount of available funding suggested for the challenge and what success may look like if that challenge resulted in impactful proposals being executed. The community decides on which of the suggested challenges are the most important to include in the future funding rounds by voting on challenge setting proposals in the governance phase.

Phases and Stages

Challenges go through three phases - innovation, governance and execution. Within each phase there are a number of stages for the proposers, proposal assessors and voters. The stages start from insight sharing about the challenges and finishes with the execution of proposals that got selected in the governance process. Below you'll find each of the stages within the three different phases.

Innovation Phase


During ideation community members look to share insights and collaborate before drafting proposals to address the fund challenges. For insight sharing the community may share facts, examples, opinions, wild ideas, how to improve the challenges, personal experiences and research to consider at the beginning of a new funding round. Insight sharing could also include identifying gaps where improvements can be made to the Project Catalyst funding process itself or parts of the ecosystem.

Submit proposals

Proposers can submit their initial ideas as proposals. Upon submission the community can immediately start to provide feedback and collaborate on the proposals submitted.

Refine proposals

During the refine proposals stage the community are invited to give feedback to the proposals and for the proposers to consider any collaboration or merging of similar proposals. Refining the proposals should increase the impact, feasibility and auditability of the proposals and help increase their chance of success.

Finalize proposals

Proposals are able to make any final changes and improvements to their proposals to ensure they are addressing the challenge with a feasible, auditable and high impact proposal.

Assess proposals

Proposal assessors are given time to review the proposals submitted to the funding round. The proposal assessors review proposals against the challenge objectives and the impact, feasibility and auditability of the proposal.

Review the reviewers

Veteran proposal assessors review the other proposal assessors proposal assessments to check that they have followed the rules and guidelines. Reviews that didn't conform to those rules and guidelines will get removed. Proposal assessors must have at least one funding round worth of experience as a proposal assessor to perform the role of a veteran proposal assessor.

Governance phase


Proposals are added to the voting system so that they will be ready for the voting stage. Voters are also invited to register to become part of the fund voting round. At the end of the registration stage a registration snapshot is taken that records which Cardano address have registered to vote in the current funding round along with the proposals that can be voted on.


Voters are given time to cast their votes for the proposals they want to get funding. Voters can both upvote and downvote proposals. It is optional on how many proposals a voter can decide to vote on. Voters can change their vote anytime before the voting snapshot if they change their mind on any voting decision. At the end of the voting time a snapshot is taken that records all the current votes by the registered voting addresses.

Vote tallying

All the votes for each proposal from the voting snapshot are tallied to produce a voting result for which proposals will and won't be funded.

Execution phase


Voting committee distribute rewards to voters and to the community approved proposals.


Proposers are tasked with reporting progress and KPI updates every month after receiving funding to provide reports on the execution and delivery of their proposal.

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