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Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Office of Digital Humanities

Receipt Deadline September 16, 2015 for Projects Beginning May 2016

The deadline for this program has passed.

Updated guidelines will be posted in advance of the next deadline. In the meantime, please use these guidelines to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.

Brief Summary

Important Announcement

This program will be replaced by a new program, Digital Humanities Advancement Grants, whose first deadline will be January 11, 2017. The Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program is merging with the Digital Humanities Implementation Grants program to create this new program, which will have two deadlines a year. Guidelines for the new program are forthcoming and should be posted by the end of September. You can find more information about the new program here.

The Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program awards relatively small grants to support the planning stages of digital projects that promise to benefit the humanities. The program supports both new projects in early stages of development and efforts to reinvigorate existing or dormant projects in innovative ways.

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

  • 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.

Experimentation, reuse, and extensibility are hallmarks of this grant category, which incorporates 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. They can also be used to revitalize or recover projects in innovative ways that will allow greater access, reuse, and extensibility.

Program Statistics

In its last five competitions the Digital Humanities Start-up Grants program received an average of 165 applications per competition. The program made an average of 23 awards per competition, for a funding ratio of 14 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely year to year, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from


Contact the NEH Office of Digital Humanities via e‑mail at Applicants wishing to speak to a staff member by telephone should provide in an e-mail message a telephone number and a preferred time to call. Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.

Guidelines Resources

Download Application Materials

Budget Resources

Program Resources

Sample Application Narratives