American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Extension Grants

Required Skill: 
Last date: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
United States

Detailed Description

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) invites applications for ACLS Digital Extension Grants, which are made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grants are designed to advance humanistic scholarship by enhancing established digital projects, extending their reach to new communities of users, and supporting teams of scholars at all career stages as they participate in digital research.

This program aims to promote inclusion and sustainability by extending the opportunity to participate in the digital transformation of humanistic inquiry to a greater number of humanities scholars.

Program Activities

ACLS Digital Extension Grants support projects that have advanced beyond the start-up phase of development as they pursue one or more of the following activities:

  • Developing new systems of making established digital resources available to broader audiences and/or scholars from diverse institutions.
  • Extending established projects and resources with content that adds diversity to the digital domain.
  • Fostering new team-based collaborations between scholars at all career stages. Projects that convene, train, and empower communities of humanities faculty and/or graduate students around established digital research projects, as well as projects that allow scholars from institutions with a limited digital infrastructure to exploit digital resources or to participate in existing labs or working groups, are especially welcome.
  • Creating new forms and sites for scholarly engagement with the digital humanities. Projects that document and recognize participant engagement are strongly encouraged.

Funding Information

  • Awards provide funding of up to $150,000 for project costs.
  • A portion of grant funds must go towards collaborations with new project partners who could benefit from access to the infrastructure at the project’s host site or from substantive participation in the development of the project.
  • Grants may be used to cover salary replacement, staffing, equipment, and other costs.

Tenure: 12-18 months, to be initiated between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Projects must be hosted by an institution of higher education in the United States.
  • The project’s principal investigator must be a scholar in a field of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences.
  • Projects must have advanced beyond the start-up or prototyping phase of development.

Evaluation Criteria

Peer reviewers in this program are asked to evaluate all eligible proposals on the following five criteria:

  • The project’s capacity to extend the franchise of digital scholarship throughout the academy.
  • The feasibility of extension and renewal plans.
  • The project’s intellectual, technological, and institutional sustainability.
  • The project’s intellectual scalability. Will it engage the scholarly field it concerns in a significant way?
  • The project’s articulation with local infrastructure at the institution(s) at which the project and teams will be based.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online and must contain the following components:

Project Narrative, 10-pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font. The narrative must include the following sections:

Project History and Impact: This section should provide a history of work on the project to date, and some measurement of the project’s current impact among target user communities (such as user metrics, reviews of past work, convenings of advisors to prepare the project for an extension, etc.). Proposals will be evaluated relative to the technical requirements for completing a successful research project; evidence of significant preliminary work already completed; and the comparative advantage of the proposed project as measured against other related or similar projects. Projects in the start-up phase or relatively early stages of deployment are not competitive for these grants.

Project Overview: Applicants should describe, briefly but specifically, what the project team plans to do and why. Demonstration of scholarly excellence in the humanities, as well as the ability to extend the reach of existing resources to new communities of users, will be the primary criteria for selection. Applicants should discuss both the intellectual and programmatic ambitions of the project and its technological underpinnings. Proposals should illustrate with specific examples or use cases how the digital technologies involved in the project add value to humanistic study and (as appropriate) how those features of the project would promote teamwork and collaboration. It is essential that applicants state explicitly the means and tools (software, applications, or interfaces) to be used to extend the project’s reach, content, and/or use.

Collaboration: Applications should describe concrete plans to collaborate with and/or build networks among scholars of any career stage from US higher education institutions of diverse profiles, and devote appropriate resources in their budgets to accomplish this work. Grant funds may be used to support a variety of costs related to these collaborations, such as agreements between institutions to support established projects; arrangements that create sites for participation or training for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from regional colleges and universities; and extensions of the project teams to include collaborations with faculty and graduate students from higher education institutions of different profiles.

Long-term Sustainability: Applications should address thoughtfully the project’s sustainability and data preservation plans beyond the period of the grant.

Infrastructure: Applications also must indicate how their projects articulate with the local infrastructure at their home institutions or the institutions hosting the projects. Applicants are encouraged to work with on-campus institutions (such as libraries or digital research centers) that can help ensure sustainability, networking, and project findability. In addition (see Institutional Statement below), applications must include the endorsement of a senior administrator at the project’s home institution or the institution hosting the project. This endorsement should outline how the institution’s existing infrastructure complements and supports the technologies to be developed for the specified project.


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