Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
The next competition is expected to have a September 12, 2013 deadline. Check back for updated guidelines at least two months prior to the September deadline.
Grant: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
Division: Office of Digital Humanities
Deadline: This competition is closed. The deadline was September 25, 2012.
Description: The Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program is designed to encourage innovations in the digital humanities. By awarding relatively small grants to support the planning stages, NEH aims to encourage the development of innovative projects that promise to benefit the humanities.
Proposals should be for the planning or initial stages of digital initiatives in any area of the humanities. Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants may involve:
- Research that brings new approaches or documents best practices in the study of the digital humanities.
- Planning and developing prototypes of new digital tools for preserving, analyzing and making accessible digital resources, including libraries' and museums' digital assets.
- Scholarship or studies that examine the philosophical or practical implications and impact of the use of emerging technologies in specific fields or disciplines of the humanities, or in interdisciplinary collaborations involving several fields or disciplines.
- Innovative uses of technology for public programming and education utilizing both traditional and new media.
- New digital modes of publication that facilitate the dissemination of humanities scholarship in advanced academic as well as informal or formal educational settings at all academic levels.
- Scholarships that focus on the history, criticism and philosophy of digital culture and its impact on society.
Innovation is a hallmark of this grant category; all applicants must propose an innovative approach, method, tool or idea that has not been used before in the humanities. NEH is requesting proposals for projects that take some risks in the pursuit of innovation and excellence. Projects funded through this program should result in plans, prototypes or proofs of concept for the long-term digital humanities projects prior to implementation.
Two levels of awards will be made in this program. Level I awards are small grants designed to fund brainstorming sessions, workshops, early alpha-level prototypes and initial planning. Level I proposals should identify a problem or research question, explore a research agenda or discover appropriate methodologies or technologies. Level II awards are larger grants that can be used for more fully-formed projects that are ready to begin implementation or demonstrate proofs of concept. Level II proposals should include a plan of work leading to concrete and tangible outcomes, such as working prototypes, test beds or demonstration projects.
All grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to appropriate scholarly and public audiences. Successful applicants will be expected to create a "lessons learned" white paper. This white paper should document the project, including lessons learned, so that others can benefit from the grantees' experience.
Fit for public broadcasting: This grant supports innovative uses of technology for public programming and education. There is a strong demand in the humanities to digitize large amounts of text and images, establish digital libraries, share information using the internet and communicate in new ways with greater ease and more speed. Public broadcasting stations looking to develop interactive websites or digital library projects should consider this opportunity.
Interested stations should review the Jefferson's Travels Project. In this project, the Virginia Center for Digital History partnered with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to develop a highly interactive web-based browser that explores Thomas Jefferson's travels. This specially constructed tool uses original source documents to provide visualizations of relationships, chronologies and causal events.
NEH allows partnerships for this program, so stations may also want to consider collaboration. In addition to their proficiency in digital initiatives and the humanities, public broadcasting stations can add contribute dissemination expertise. All applicants must describe a plan for disseminating their project's results to the public, and public broadcasters are well situated to play this role.
Eligibility: Eligibility is limited to U.S. nonprofit organizations or institutions, state and local governmental agencies and Native American tribal organizations.
Anticipated funding: Awards are for up to 18 months. Level I Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000, and Level II Grants range from $30,001 to $60,000. Cost sharing is not required, but applicants are welcome to use cost sharing for start-up projects in which the total budget exceeds the NEH grant limit.
How to apply: Applications for this program must be submitted via grants.gov. Prior to submitting a proposal, applicants are encouraged to contact program officers who can offer advice about preparing the proposal and review draft proposals. Program staff recommends that draft proposals be submitted at least six weeks before the deadline via e-mail attachment.
The most recent list of awardees can be found here.