Digital Humanities Lab

Project Grants

Introduction and Background

The $20,000 Project Grants in the Yale DHLab are modeled on the National Endowment for Humanities Office of Digital Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program.

The procedures and policies below are substantially similar to those of NEH DH Start-Up grants from previous years.

We hope applicants will find the process of applying for a DHLab Project Grant useful in their eventual application for an NEH DH Start-Up Grant, should they seek one.

Visit Project Grant Recipients, 2016 for a list of recently funded projects. For DH Start-Up Grant recipients, see the NEH Office of Digital Humanities.

I. Program Description

DHLab Project Grants provide $20,000 to support faculty projects that pursue innovation and excellence in the humanities at Yale University. Support is available for various combinations of scholars, consultants, and research assistants, as well as technical support and services. Proposals can be for the planning, initial stages or the continuation of digital initiatives in any area of the humanities. The application cycle is currently closed; check back in the fall for more information about future funding. 

Project Grants May Involve:

  • research that brings new approaches or documents best practices in the study of the digital humanities;
  • prototypes of new digital tools for preserving, analyzing, and making accessible digital resources, including libraries’ and museums’ digital assets;
  • scholarship that focuses on the history, criticism, and philosophy of digital culture and its impact on society;
  • scholarship or studies that examine the philosophical or practical implications and impact of the use of emerging technologies in specific fields or disciplines of the humanities, or in interdisciplinary collaborations that involve several fields or disciplines;
  • innovative uses of technology for public programming and education that incorporate both traditional and new media.

DHLab Project Grants should result in plans, prototypes, proofs of concept, or continued work for long-term digital humanities projects. In addition to articulating early plans for an innovative prototype, proposals should identify a problem or research question, explore a research agenda, or discover appropriate methodologies or technologies.

Proposals should include specific plans for broad dissemination of project outcomes, such as reports, position papers, and plans for subsequent steps and future research or development. Grant recipients will document their project on the DHLab's website—including achievements and lessons learned—so that others can benefit from the grantees' experience.

Grants may also be used to convene conferences or workshops that address specific topics related to the impact of technology on the humanities.

DHLab Project Grants Are Not Intended For:

  • projects that involve digitization only;
  • recurring or established conferences or professional meetings alone (without other components);
  • acquisition of computer equipment or software in excess of 20 percent of the grant's total;
  • travel for the principal investigator (PI) in excess of 10 percent of the grant's total    

II. Eligibility

Yale ladder faculty, as defined in the Faculty Handbook, are eligible to apply.

III. Application and Submission Information

Application Advice and Draft Proposals

Prior to submitting a proposal, applicants should contact the DHLab to discuss the proposal and review process. Comments on draft proposals are not part of the formal review process and have no bearing on the final outcome of the proposal, but applicants may find them helpful in strengthening their applications.

We recommend that draft proposals be submitted at least two weeks before the deadline. Time constraints may prevent staff from reviewing draft proposals submitted after that date.

The Application

The application should consist of the following parts, assembled as one PDF file:                

1. Table of contents

List all parts of the application and corresponding page numbers.

2. List of participants

List all project participants and collaborators, along with their institutional affiliations, if any.

3. Abstract

Provide a one-paragraph (up to one-thousand characters) abstract written for a non-specialist audience that clearly explains the project’s principal activities and its expected results.

4. Narrative

Applicants should provide an intellectual justification for the project and a work plan. The narrative section should not exceed four single-spaced pages and should not assume specialized knowledge. It should clearly define technical terms so that they are comprehensible to a non-specialist audience.

The narrative should address the long-term goals for the project, as well as the activities that the DHLab Project Grant would support.

Provide a detailed project description that addresses the following topics:

Narrative Section 1: Enhancing the humanities

Provide a clear and concise explanation of the start-up activities and the ultimate project results, noting their value to scholars, students, and potentially the public. Describe the scope of the project's activities, the major issues or research questions to be addressed, and their significance to the humanities. Show how the project will meet its objectives in innovative ways.

Provide a rationale for the compatibility of your methodology with the intellectual goals of the project and the expectations of those who would make use of the grant product. If either the start-up project or the long-term project is not predicated on generally accessible open-source software, explain why and also explain how the dissemination goals of the DHLab Project Grant will still be satisfied by the project.

Narrative Section 2: Environmental scan

Provide a clear and concise summary of an environmental scan of the relevant field. The goal of an environmental scan is to take a careful look at similar work being done in your area of study. For example, if you are developing software to solve a particular humanities problem, please discuss similar software developed for other projects and explain how the proposed solution differs. If there are existing software products that could be adapted and re-used for the proposed project, please identify them and discuss the pros and cons of taking that approach. If there are existing humanities projects that are similar in nature to your project, please describe them and discuss how they relate to the proposed project. The environmental scan should make it clear that you are aware of similar work being done and should explain how your proposed project contributes to and advances the field.

Narrative Section 3: History and duration of the project

Provide a concise history of the project, including information about preliminary research or planning, previous related work, financial support, publications, and resources or research facilities. Work on projects initiated during the term of a DHLab Project Grant is expected to continue after the period of the grant. Describe plans for that work and probable sources of support for subsequent phases of the project.

Narrative Section 4: Work plan

Describe the specific tasks that will be accomplished during the grant period, identify the computer technology to be employed, and identify the staff members involved. The start-up activities described in the proposal should be completed by the end of the grant period.

Indicate what technical resources will be required.

Describe plans for evaluating the results of the activities undertaken during the grant period. This evaluation should both look back on what the DHLab Project Grant will have accomplished and look forward to how the long-term project goals will be achieved.

If your project involves staging a workshop or conference, please include, as an appendix to your application, the agenda and a list of proposed participants.

Narrative Section 5: Staff

Briefly identify and describe the responsibilities of the PI and individual collaborators who would work on the project during the proposed grant period. PIs must devote a significant portion of their time to their projects. All persons directly involved in the proposed project—whether or not their salaries are paid from grant funds—should be listed, as should their anticipated commitments of time and the reasons for and nature of their collaboration.

If the project has an advisory board, provide a list of board members and a statement of its function in the biographies section of the application, which is discussed below.

Narrative Section 6: Final product and dissemination

Describe the plans to disseminate the project results through various media (printed articles or books, presentations at meetings, electronic media, or some combination of these). Explain how you will detail the activities of the project and discuss its potential usefulness to the field.

Projects that develop new software are encouraged to make the software free in every sense of the term, including the use, copying, distribution, and modification of the software. Open-source software or source code should preferably be made publicly available through an online repository such as GitHub.

5. Budget Narrative

Include a one- to two-page account of how you will allocate funds from the DHLab grant. Keep in mind that no more than 10 percent can be used for the PI's travel (this percentage does not apply to outside speakers the PI brings to Yale for workshops/symposia), and no more than 20 percent on the acquisition of computer equipment or software.*

6. Biographies

Include a biographies section that contains a brief, one-paragraph biography for each principal project participant. If the project has an advisory board, provide a statement of its function.

7. Letters of commitment and support (optional)

If appropriate, include letters of commitment from other participants and cooperating institutions. (Note that the PI does not need to provide a letter of commitment him- or herself.) If desired, include up to two letters of support from experts in the project’s subject area, the proposed methodology, or the technical plan.

8. Appendices (optional)

If applicable, include workshop or meeting agendas, a bibliography or list of works cited, wireframes, screenshots, or other project schematics. Materials in this section may not exceed ten pages.

Application Evaluation

DHLab Project Grants have been created to support the scholarly work of Yale faculty. These grants will be reviewed by the Digital Humanities Faculty Executive Committee. The Chair for the 2016-2017 academic year is Amy Hungerford (Professor of English and American Studies; Divisional Director for Humanities). The application cycle is currently closed.


*Equipment purchased with the grant may be used for the duration of the project, potentially extending beyond the grant term. Upon completion of the project and during periods of disuse, equipment should be returned to the DHLab. 

Last modified: 
Monday, June 5, 2017 - 9:44am