The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites applications to the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program. This 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 that examines the philosophical implications and impact of the use of emerging technologies;
* innovative uses of technology for public programming and education utilizing both traditional and new media; and
* 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.
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. These grants are modeled, in part, on the “high risk/high reward” paradigm often used by funding agencies in the sciences. NEH is requesting proposals for projects that take some risks in the pursuit of innovation and excellence.
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants should result in plans, prototypes, or proofs of concept for 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 II awards are larger grants that can be used for more fully-formed projects that are ready to begin implementation or the creation of working prototypes. Applicants must state in their narrative which funding level they seek. Applicants should carefully choose the funding level appropriate to the needs of the proposed project.
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants support full-time or part-time activities for periods up to eighteen months. Support is available for various combinations of scholars, consultants, and research assistants; project-related travel; and technical support and services. Up to 20 percent of the total grant may be used for the acquisition of computing hardware and software. All grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to appropriate scholarly and public audiences. In order to facilitate dissemination and increase the impact of the projects that are ultimately developed through Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, applicants are strongly encouraged to employ open-source and fully accessible software.
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. This white paper will be posted on the NEH Web site.