Papers should be 5 to 7 pages in length, double-spaced. We encourage participants to produce shorter papers to allow for greater commenting/consideration. Additionally, we want to encourage these papers to emulate the narrative section of the National Endowment for Humanities Digital Humanities Start Up Grants solicitation, as this competition focuses on humanities significance and innovation and is a likely funding source for early development projects.

We ask that every paper include the major elements of a project proposal, namely that the narrative should not assume specialized knowledge, and it should be free of jargon. 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 project would support.

Within the narrative, you should:

  1. Provide a clear and concise explanation—comprehensible to a general audience—of the project activities and the ultimate project results, noting their value to scholars, students, and general audiences in the humanities. Describe the scope of the project activities, the major issues to be addressed, and their significance to the humanities. Show how the project will meet its objectives in innovative ways.
  2. 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 project products.
  3. 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.
  4. Provide a concise history of the project, including information about preliminary research or planning, previous related work, previous financial support, publications produced, and resources or research facilities available.
  5. Complete a brief workplan that describes the specific tasks that will be accomplished during the grant period, identify the computer technology to be employed, and identify the staff members involved. Indicate what technical resources will be required.
  6. Identify potential staff and collaborators.
  7. 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).

The below presentation was given at the 2013 Digital Humanities Winter Institute and is provided here to help with the process of drafting your first grant.

If you can’t view the above pdf, no worries, just click here to download the PDF file.

Lecture Podcast

Sample Grants

The following grants have been selected to represent a variety of styles of grant writing that can be used as the basis for your own papers. These are not expected to be exhaustive of the types of materials that can be produced as part of developing your project. Rather, these offer a glimpse into the types of materials that are generated throughout a project life cycle. For ease of navigation, we’ve divided these materials into grants (by funder) and then miscellaneous project development materials.