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about | the school

CiFAR is a civil society organisation committed to fighting the flow of corrupt wealth by political leaders across borders and to secure the return of any stolen money to the victims of grand corruption. To do this we work closely with both CSOs and investigative journalists across the world to investigate, expose, and secure the return of dark money.

These flows of money affect both richer and poorer countries. Illicitly acquired wealth is funnelled into Europe and North America, amongst other financial centres, by corrupt officials keen to hide their wealth outside of their home countries and beyond the reach of domestic law enforcement. This money often originates from poorer countries, especially where political power is in the hands of the few and opposition is limited and is transferred through offshore havens to reach its destination. In richer countries, the exposure of this wealth by journalists also exposes the complicity of financial centres and institutions in supporting oppression overseas, in poorer countries it has lead to reactions that have changed the political system.

In 2017 and 2018 we organised our first programme dedicated to supporting young investigative journalists to investigate illicit financial flows. Bringing together 20 journalists from Europe and North Africa, we trained them in both how cross-border financial crime by political figures works and how to investigate these cases, including how to do this in a safer way. We then worked with them in groups to actually investigate cases and supported them to develop, pitch and publish their stories. These stories (which can be viewed here) included investigations into:

  • The use of Libyan funds by German hospitals
  • Potential failures of freezing orders in France
  • Money disappearing from the British Virgin Islands

In February 2020, we will hold the second instalment of investigate – this time open to applicants from across the world. You’ll spend six days in Berlin learning and improving your skills in investigative journalism with a focus on financial crime by public officials. We’ll also support you to develop your stories further as small teams and to pitch your stories for publication.

about | you

  • An early career journalist (2-3 years experience)
  • Excited to move into investigative work
  • Committed to work on exposing corruption at the highest levels of public office in your country or flows of corrupt wealth into your country
  • Interested in working as part of a cross-border team with others like you
  • Able to commit to six days in January in Berlin and to working on a story with your peers for 3 months after
  • You speak and understand English to a working level

about | us

  • Experts in asset recovery, financial crime and grand corruption
  • Expert investigative journalist trainers in this field
  • Almost a decade of experience in working on cross border corruption and asset recovery
  • Networked with some of the strongest organisations in this field

about | what we offer

Three days of intensive training (Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 February) with expert trainers covering:

  • Financial crime and cross-border corruption
  • Anti-corruption laws
  • Reading financial documents
  • Asset recovery
  • Investigative journalism 101
  • Specificities of investigating financial crime by public figures
  • Interview techniques
  • Online databases
  • Safety and security in investigations

Three days of hackathon (Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 February), where you will start with a skill sharing session, then pitch (or  use a sample we will develop) and work on a story with your peers. The aim of this hackathon will be to test and practise your skills, applying the learning from the first three days to practical cases. This session would end with an outline of possible funds to for future investigative projects, as well as how to manage timelines and publication.

Coffee breaks on all days, support for visa applications if needed, support finding accommodation in Berlin.

about | costs

To cover our costs, we ask for a fee of:

  • €750 for partipants from founding OECD member states (excluding Turkey), GCC member countries, Australia, New Zealand
  • €350 for participants from the rest of the world

Participants are required to cover their own transport, accommodation and subsistence for the training.

We are able to waive the fee and/or offer a grant to a limited number of participants not able to fund the training some other way. Please specify if that is needed in your application, with an estimate of needs.


If you have any questions before applying, please get in touch with us at

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Applications are currently closed