Funding Alert! Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

National Endowment for the Humanities – Office of Digital Humanities

Does your institution or humanities-related organization have a digital project in the works? If your program is seeking funding for the development or implementation of a scalable, sustainable digital project that has the potential to enhance humanities research, teaching, and programming, you might be interested in this opportunity. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently opened applications for the Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG) to support innovative, experimental, and/or computationally challenging digital projects, whether at the early research/start-up phase, the sustainability phase, or anywhere in between.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, public and state-controlled institutions of higher education (IHEs), state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments. An eligible entity may apply on behalf of a consortium of collaborating entities. In addition, applicants may submit more than one proposal for separate and distinct projects; however, note that the project director and/or co-director cannot serve in a leadership role on more than one DHAG proposal per deadline.

What do these humanities projects look like?

Proposed projects should address at least one of the following DHAG priorities:

  1. Researching or enhancing innovative, experimental, or computationally challenging methods or techniques that contribute to the humanities;
  2. Enhancing or designing digital infrastructure (e.g., open-source code, tools, platforms, etc.) that contribute to and support the humanities;
  3. Engaging in research that explores the history, criticism, ethics, or philosophy of digital culture/technology and its societal impact (including racial, religious, and/or gender biases); and
  4. Conducting evaluative studies that investigate the practices and impact of digital scholarship on research, pedagogy, scholarly communication, and public engagement.

Awards are available at three funding levels, based on the scope and maturity of the project:

  1. Level I: support for early-phase activities such as developing research strategies, conducting planning sessions, designing early prototypes, and exploring new methodologies or technologies (both for new projects and those needing revitalization or recovery). Outcomes may include reports and papers, new consortia or partnerships, plans for additional research and development, other publications, etc. Level I awards are a maximum of $50,000 and a 24-month project period.
  2. Level II: support for projects that have completed an initial planning phase and have a well-developed workplan for scaling up the project. Activities may include technical development, data curation, meeting with advisory boards or other collaborators, evaluating and refining the project, or disseminating project results through workshops or tutorials. Outcomes may include prototypes, add-ons, code libraries, new workflows, training data, workshops, publications, presentations, etc. Level II awards range from $50,001 to $150,000 with a maximum 24-month project period.
  3. Level III: support for established, successful projects that have already completed a start-up or prototyping phase and are poised for expansion. Potential activities include user testing, transforming a prototype into a usable resource, reviewing code, fixing bugs, developing training materials and/or presentations for widespread use, or reviewing for accessibility compliance. Outcomes may include project launch, public release of software/code/data, publications, presentations, sustainability plan implementation, etc. Level III awards range from $150,001 to $350,000 with a maximum 36-month project period. An additional $50,000 in federal matching funds may be available to leverage external support and promote sustainability.

There are two deadlines for this grant: January 14, 2022 (for projects beginning as early as September 1, 2022) and June 24, 2022 (for projects beginning as early as January 1, 2023. Note that NEH offers the option to turn in a preliminary draft for review by DHAG program staff. If you take advantage of this opportunity, the draft is due November 15, 2021.

The NEH expects to award 12-15 grants for a total of $2,200,000 per deadline.

What makes a project a good fit?

The DHAG program values experimentation, reuse, and extensibility, with the goal to produce published works that contribute to the digital humanities research base. The NEH is particularly interested in projects that advance humanities-related work in the following areas:

What if I am ready to apply? The first round of proposals is due January 14, 2022. To move your application forward, take the following action steps ASAP:

  • Read through the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more detail regarding eligible project activities and outcomes.
  • Watch the technical assistance webinar, which you can access from the program resource page on October 28, 2021 at 2:00pm ET.
  • Review sample application narratives for each funding level, also available on the DHAG resource page.
  • Begin preparing a preliminary draft (due November 15), so DHAG program staff can provide you with feedback ahead of the final January deadline.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

The next round for this funding opportunity is due June 24, 2022, so there’s still plenty of time! The NEH website has a wealth of resources available, including examples of previously funded projects.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series throughout 2021! The series is designed to support faculty at IHEs and nonprofit leaders before and during the application process. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

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