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NEH Posts Guidelines for NEH Fellowships at Digital Humanities Centers

April 14, 2008 | By Brett Bobley

I'm very happy to say that the NEH's Division of Research has just posted the guidelines for our new "NEH Fellowships at Digital Humanities Centers" program ("FDHC" for short).  The NEH first announced this program back at the CNI conference in December of 2007, but now the full guidelines are available.  I would encourage all humanities centers to check out this new program and consider applying.  The deadline is September 15th, 2008.  In a nutshell, FDHC allows centers to apply for funding to bring in a visiting fellow to work on one or more humanities projects.

As a bit of background, this new grant program was inspired in part by the ACLS Cyberinfrastructure report, which encourages funding agencies like the NEH to support "...national centers of excellence in digital humanities and social science, as crucial seedbeds of further innovation."  (ACLS, p. 35).  The NEH Division of Research had extensive conversations with digital humanities centers to find out the best ways the NEH could support their work.  So I really feel like this new program responds well to specific needs articulated by the field.    Large-scale digital humanities projects are complex.  They involve many different people, disciplines, and skills to pull off properly.  They require not only great scholarly talent, but management talent as well to keep everyone working together on time and on budget.  That, I feel, is one of the keys to a successful center.  Personally, I feel like this new FDHC program is a great opportunity to foster the kinds of collaborations necessary for a successful project.  This program will allow the visiting fellow to work in a team-based environment at the center -- something very common in the sciences but less so in the humanities.  I'm also quite keen on the flexibility of this new grant program.  The center can propose bringing in any kind of a fellow:  it could be a senior humanities scholar who wants the center staff to provide assistance working on a project involving technology;  it could be a technology expert the center is bringing in to help with a humanities project;  it could be a promising humanities postdoc who will assist on several ongoing projects already at the center so that he/she can gain valuable experience.  In other words, the center can make the case for who they need and why it is good for the humanities. So the grant can fund the creation of great humanities projects while at the same time also being a learning opportunity for both the fellow and the center staff.
  [Edit: As of 4/29/2010, the Fellowships at Digital Humanities Centers program is no longer offered by the NEH].