The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers various grant opportunities to support endeavors in the Digital Humanities. The variety of options, which are generally open on an annual cycle, are available via the federal government’s online application system and demonstrate an increasing prevalence of Digital Humanities aspects in all areas of humanities research. Elements of the field–which involve the intersection of traditional academic humanities with increasing technological development–can be identified in most of the current grants NEH offers. These range from grants specifically targeted as support for Digital Humanities initiatives to those that present opportunity for incorporating technological innovation into more traditional humanities projects in multiple disciplines.
The complete list of 35 available grants on the NEH website is sorted into six divisions, one of which is the Office of Digital Humanities. Five of these 35 grants are currently available through the Office of Digital Humanities:
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants are described as “relatively small” support for the “planning stages of innovative projects that promise to benefit the humanities.” The guidelines of potential projects this grant may support indicate it as a useful means for the initial incorporation of digital initiatives into humanities endeavors. Some of the suggestions include: research into new approaches and best practices for Digital Humanities, the development of new digital tools for increasing public access to museum and library collections, and scholarship which focuses on the philosophical implications and societal impact of digital culture. This grant is offered in two levels of funding, based upon the size and nature of the request. Level 1 funding ranges from $5,000 to $30,000 and Level 2 from $30,001 to $60,000.
Digital Humanities Implementation Grants indicate a more advanced level of assistance, and offer substantially larger monetary support than the start-up grant. These grants are described as support for Digital Humanities projects which have “successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the field.” Suggestions for projects this grant might support indicate much overlap with the types of projects suggested in the aforementioned start-up grant, but with substantial progression towards more advanced undertakings. They include: the implementation of digital methods and techniques for humanities research, efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of digital resource methods in libraries, museums and archives, and the implementation of innovative digital modes of scholarly communication. Funding for this grant ranges from $100,000 to $325,000.
Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities offers a means for supporting educational initiatives in the field of Digital Humanities. The grant allows for freedom in developing the size, length and duration of such initiatives, providing the final product thoroughly addresses the topic at hand. Suggested possible topics include: digital image and sound analysis, textual analysis and text-mining, scholarly communication and publishing, and immersive and virtual environments in multimedia research. Funding for this grant ranges from $50,000 to $250,000.
Digging Into Data Challenge offers assistance for the development of innovative humanities data navigation methods. Described as an initiative for the creation of a “new research infrastructure for 21st-century scholarship,” the support this grant receives from several international research funders indicates both its popularity and its relevancy to the field of Digital Humanities. Specifics about funding are not currently available for this grant, as it has not yet opened for its 2014 cycle.
NEH/DFG Bilateral Digital Humanities Program is a joint opportunity offered in conjunction with the German Research Foundation, which aims to support the development and implementation of “digital infrastructures and services for humanities research.” This grant indicates many of the same types of Digital Humanities projects as the others, with the added stipulation that collaboration between U.S. and German partners is mandatory, with sponsorship by at least one eligible German institution or individual a necessity for each application. Specifics about funding are not currently available for this grant, as it has not yet opened for its 2014 cycle.
In addition to these five grants, elements of the Digital Humanities can also be identified in many other NEH grants. Some of these include: The National Digital Newspaper Program, which allows for the digitization of historically significant American newspapers, Collaborative Research Grants, which support “interpretive humanities research” including initiatives regarding technology in the humanities, and a handful of preservation assistance grants, which indicate digitization and data curation projects as a means for increasing access to historic resources.
Ultimately, the grant options offered by the NEH indicate Digital Humanities as one of the most common themes in projects that might receive financial support. More detailed information about the specifics regarding each grant, including eligibility, required supplemental material, and necessary matching funds, can be accessed via the list of grants on the NEH website: http://www.neh.gov/grants. Specific information about the field of Digital Humanities and the types of projects the NEH has funded in the past can be found through the NEH Office of Digital Humanities website: http://www.neh.gov/divisions/odh.