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Announcing the Fourth Round of Digging Into Data

Digital researchers from three continents are invited to apply new methods of using "big data" to address humanities inquiries

WASHINGTON (February 8, 2016) — Started as a small competition launched in 2009 by NEH and three partner agencies in the US, UK, and Canada, Digging into Data has expanded in 2016 to include three continents with a new name: The T-AP Digging into Data Challenge. The new title reflects the first time the challenge will be under the auspices of the Trans-Atlantic Platform, a consortium of sixteen international funders of social sciences and humanities research from Europe, South America, and North America, including the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This year’s round of the T-AP Digging into Data Challenge will continue prior rounds’ missions to drive collaborative digital research and find new methods of exploring “big data” sources to address questions in the humanities and social sciences.

During the first three rounds of the Challenge, held in 2009, 2011, and 2013, nearly twelve million dollars were awarded to thirty-six participating teams comprised of American and European scholars, scientists and information professionals who embarked on innovative research into turning “big data” into answers to humanistic inquiries. Prior Digging into Data Challenge-supported projects include the IMPACT Radiological Mummy Database – which used x-rays of ancient mummies located at sites across the globe to explore whether ailments such as heart disease were common in ancient peoples – and Resurrecting Early Christian Lives, a joint project by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Oxford University to study Christian identities by using crowd-sourced, web-based transcriptions of ancient papyri dating to Greco-Roman Egypt.

The detailed request for proposals will be released on March 1, 2016.  Further information about the competition can be found at or at, and by following @DiggingIntoData on Twitter. 


About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

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