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More About the Level I Start-Up Grants

February 14, 2008 | By Brett Bobley

A few months back, we made a change to our Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant program. We split it into two types of grants -- Level I ($5000 - $25,000) and Level II ($25,001 - $50,000). Today I'd like to tell you more about the Level I grant.

The Level I grant is something new for us. Unlike your typical NEH grant program, it is designed with basic research and pre-planning in mind. It is a fairly small amount of money, yes. It is certainly not enough money to execute a major digital project. But -- and here's the whole point really -- every major digital project must begin with some basic research, some planning, some travel, some discussions with colleagues at other institutions. Small things. Questions need to be answered before you can attempt a major project: "Is this the right approach? Have we spoken with the right people? Have we tested this theory? Have we determined which software platform is most appropriate? Does our idea work on a small scale?"

These are the types of activities that a Level I grant might fund. Of course, you need to impress upon the peer reviewers WHY you need to do these things. But we're not expecting a fully-formed project. We want to help you get through these initial first steps. We want to help you get your act together so that when you do apply for a large grant, you'll have already done much of the important preliminary work.

Bottom line: If you have a great idea for an innovative digital humanities project and you just need, say, $10,000 to pay for preliminary tasks like I've described above, consider a Level I grant. The application is quick and easy (just five pages). Deadline is April 2. Guidelines are available now.