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Updated Guidelines for Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

July 31, 2015 | By Jason Rhody

A few weeks ago, we launched the updated guidelines for the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants (SUGs) in advance of the September 16 deadline.  Here are the highlights of the changes you’ll find:

  • Level 1 awards now range from $5,000 to $40,000 (up from $30,000).
  • Level 2 awards now range from $40,001 to $75,000 (up from $60,000).
  • Applicants are no longer required to submit a “Statement of Innovation” and a “Statement of Humanities Significance” alongside the abstract.
  • Level 1 applications are now allowed single-space 4 pages (up from 3). Level 2 applications are still limited to 6 pages.  As always, we encourage you to use your appendices wisely (up to 10 pages of material).
  • The Data Management Plan guidelines have been slightly updated to reflect current practices.
  • There is now a workflow description of what you should expect after you submit your grant via grants.gov, so you can better check that your application has been fully received by NEH. That PDF document can be seen  here (and a link is also available at the very end of the guidelines).

While innovation remains a strong characteristic of many SUGs, we also recognize that exploration, experimentation, reuse, and extensibility have also become strong hallmarks for this grant program. In that spirit, we both streamlined and expanded the range of activities that might be pursued under the SUG program. Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants may involve:

  • creating or enhancing experimental, computationally-based methods or techniques for humanities research, teaching, preservation, or public programming;
  •  pursuing scholarship that examines the history, criticism, and philosophy of digital culture and its impact on society, or explores the philosophical or practical implications and impact of digital humanities in specific fields or disciplines; or
  • revitalizing and/or recovering existing digital projects that promise to contribute substantively to scholarship, teaching, or public knowledge of the humanities (for further information, see the question about revitalizing existing projects in the Frequently Asked Questions document, which is available on the program resource page).

The first two items above broadly reflect much of what has been allowed in previous iterations of this grant program.  The third bullet, which calls for revitalizing and/or recovering existing digital projects follows a similar call made from our Digital Humanities Implementation Grant program last year.  Please read the FAQ document carefully for an explanation of what kinds of activities are encouraged in this element of the call.  Please also note that individual scholars pursuing research in these areas are still likely best served by the NEH Fellowships and Summer Stipends program (offered by the Division of Research Programs), and projects that involve the digitization of materials are likely best suited for the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program (offered by the Division of Preservation and Access).

As always, if you have any questions about the grant opportunity, what might be allowed, or how to submit the grant, we encourage you to contact us by sending an email to odh@neh.gov .