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Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs for Digital
Preservation and Sharing of Humanities Resources

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Deadline Date:

01/16/18 5:00 PM ET


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and IHEs for digital projects that enhance the preservation of or access to humanities resources. Applicants must create or verify the required registrations by December 19 and January 2.

The purpose of this program is to support digital projects throughout their lifecycles, from early start-up phases through implementation and long-term sustainability. Experimentation, reuse, and extensibility are hallmarks of this grant category, leading to innovative work that can scale to enhance research, teaching, and public programming in the humanities.

Through a special partnership, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) anticipates providing additional funding to this program to encourage innovative collaborations between museum or library professionals and humanities professionals to advance preservation of, access to, use of, and engagement with digital collections and services. Through this partnership, IMLS and NEH may jointly fund some DHAG projects that involve collaborations with museums and/or libraries.

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants may involve:
-Creating or enhancing experimental, computationally-based methods, techniques, or infrastructure that contribute to the humanities;
-Pursuing scholarship that examines the history, criticism, and philosophy of digital culture and its impact on society, or explores the philosophical or practical implications and impact of digital humanities in specific fields or disciplines; or
-Revitalizing and/or recovering existing digital projects that promise to contribute substantively to scholarship, teaching, or public knowledge of the humanities.

Grant Categories:

Grants are available for early-stage planning, development, and implementation. Applicants must state in their narrative which funding level they seek. Applicants should carefully choose the funding level appropriate to the needs of the proposed project.

Level I awards are small grants designed to fund exploratory sessions, workshops, early alpha-level prototypes, and initial planning. In addition to early planning towards an experimental prototype, Level I proposals can identify a problem or research question, explore a research agenda, or discover appropriate methodologies or technologies for both new projects and projects in need of substantive revision or recovery. Outcomes for Level I projects would likely include reports, position papers, and plans for subsequent steps and future research or development. Level I projects may also fund meetings, workshops, or reports addressing specific topics related to the impact of technology on the humanities. Proposals should include specific plans for broad dissemination of project outcomes.

Level II awards are larger grants that can be used for more fully-formed projects that have completed an initial planning phase. Level II proposals should therefore include a more articulated plan of work leading to concrete and tangible outcomes, such as working prototypes; detailed plans for upgrading existing or defunct projects in need of substantive revision, enhancement, or recovery; test beds; or demonstration projects.

Level III awards support implementation and scaling-up of already established projects. All projects must already have completed a start-up phase prior to application. The earlier phase of the project could have been supported previously by NEH or by another funding source. (Please see the instructions for the narrative component of the application below, in particular beneath the “History of the project” bullet.) Level III projects must submit both data management and sustainability plans, and all projects are expected to fulfill the obligations outlined in these plans.

For all levels of support: Support is available for various combinations of scholars, consultants, and research assistants; project-related travel; article processing charges for open access publications; and technical support and services. Up to 20 percent of the total grant may be used to acquire computing hardware and software. All grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to appropriate scholarly and public audiences.

Standing Together:

NEH invites projects related to its Standing Together initiative, which encourages projects related to war and military service.

Protecting Our Cultural Heritage:

In response to the destruction of cultural heritage materials worldwide, NEH encourages applications for projects that study, document, or create digital representations of lost or imperiled cultural heritage materials. Proposed projects should be based on scholarly work and follow standards and best practices. Project teams must include appropriate methodological specialists and humanities scholars. Projects must demonstrate the capacity to be sustained and must be widely accessible to the public. For more information click here.

Libraries and Museums Advance the Digital Humanities:

In support of the national digital platform effort, the Institute of Museum and Library Services anticipates providing additional funding through this program to encourage innovative collaborations between museum or library professionals and humanities professionals to advance preservation of, access to, use of, and engagement with digital collections and services. These projects will advance the IMLS mission of improving broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

Through this partnership, IMLS funds would support Level I and II projects that involve collaborations with museums and/or libraries. Projects funded in whole or part by IMLS must meet IMLS organizational eligibility requirements. For libraries, see the most recent Notification of Funding Opportunities for the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. For museums, see the most recent Notification of Funding Opportunities for the National Leadership Grants for Museums Program. Organizations interested in applying for support for larger projects involving museums or libraries may still apply to the NEH DHAG program (Level III) but should also consider applying to either the IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries program or the IMLS National Leadership Grants for Museums program.

All applications will be given equal consideration in accordance with the program’s evaluation criteria, whether or not they respond to the Standing Together initiative, focus on lost or imperiled cultural heritage materials, or involve collaboration with libraries or museums. Only applications addressing collaborations with libraries and museums from applicants eligible for IMLS grants will be considered for IMLS funds.

Providing Access to Grant Products:

As a taxpayer-supported federal agency, NEH endeavors to make the products of its grants available to the broadest possible audience. NEH’s goal is for scholars, educators, students, and the American public to have ready and easy access to the wide range of NEH grant products. For the Digital Humanities Advancement Grants program, such products may include software code, algorithms, digital tools, reports, articles, and websites. For projects that lead to the development of such products, all other considerations being equal, NEH gives preference to those that provide free access to the public.

NEH grantees must follow the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of handicap in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176104

Estimated Size of Grant:

Level I grants range from $10,000 to $50,000 in outright funding.

Level II grants range from $50,001 to $100,000 in outright funding.

Level III grants range from $100,001 to $325,000 in outright funding. Applicants for Level III grants can also request up to an additional $50,000 in matching funds specifically allocated toward their sustainability or data management plans.

Term of Contract:

Awards for Level I and Level II grants are for up to eighteen months. Awards for Level III Grants are for one to three years.

Projects may begin September 2018.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility is limited to:
-U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; and
-State and local governmental agencies and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

Individuals are not eligible to apply.

Applicants that receive whole or partial funding from IMLS must also meet IMLS eligibility criteria. For libraries, see the most recent Notification of Funding Opportunities for the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. For museums, see the most recent Notification of Funding Opportunities for the National Leadership Grants for Museums Program.

Degree candidates may not be project directors or co-directors. Degree candidates may, however, serve in other project roles.

Project directors and co-directors may submit only one application to this program per deadline. Individuals may, however, be listed as participants in more than one Digital Humanities Advancement Grant application per deadline. If an application for a project is already under review in the DHAG program, another application for the same project will not be accepted by this program. Applicants may also seek funding from other NEH programs for complementary aspects of the same overall project. They may also apply for other NEH awards unrelated to the overall project.

When two or more institutions or organizations collaborate on a project, one of them must serve as the lead applicant and administer the grant on behalf of the others.

Applicants may apply to any of the three levels as appropriate to the needs of the project. Applicants are not required to obtain a Level I or II award prior to applying for a Level III award, but applicants must have completed some earlier phase of work prior to applying for Level III.

NEH generally does not award grants to other federal entities or to applicants whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity’s own authorized activities. This does not preclude applicants from using grant funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects.

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants may not be used for
-Projects that mainly involve digitization, unless the applicant is proposing an innovative method for digitization;
-The creation or conversion of a scholarly journal (although the implementation of new modes of scholarly publication is permitted);
-Recurring maintenance costs that would support only the day-to-day operations of existing projects rather than substantive changes or upgrades;
-Recurring or established conferences or professional meetings;
-Acquisition of computer equipment or software in excess of 20 percent of the grant total;
-Promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view;
-Advocacy for a particular program of social or political action;
-Support of specific public policies or legislation; or
-Projects that fall outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies).

Pre-Application Information:

Cost sharing consists of the cash contributions made to a project by the applicant and third parties, as well as third party in-kind contributions, such as donated services and goods. Applicants are welcome to use cost sharing for projects in which the total budget exceeds the NEH grant limit. Cost sharing is not required for Level I and Level II projects. Level III projects that request a Sustainability Match must report the contributions raised to release NEH matching funds—which must be nonfederal gift funds raised from eligible third parties—as cost sharing.

The Office of Digital Humanities accepts applications for Digital Humanities Advancement Grants at two deadlines a year: in January and June. Applicants are due January 16, 2018 for projects beginning September 2018.

Verify and if necessary update your institution’s Entity record, or create an Entity record for your institution, at the System for Award Management (SAM). Complete at least four weeks before the deadline.

All applications to this program must be submitted via NEH strongly recommends that you complete or verify your registration at least two weeks before the application deadline, since it takes time to process your registration.

NEH strongly suggests that you submit your application no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Doing so will leave you time to contact the help desk for support, should you encounter a technical problem of some kind.


-Until January 16, 2018: Contact Office of Digital Humanities program officers with questions and for advice (optional)

-December 5, 2017: Submit draft application by this date

-December 19, 2017: Create or verify your institution’s Entity record at the System for Award Management by this date

-January 2, 2018: Register your institution with by this date

-January 16, 2018: Submit application through by this date

-April-May 2018: peer review panels take place

-July 2018: meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions

-August 2018: applicants are notified of the funding decisions

-September 2018: institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail

-September 2018: successful applicants begin work on their projects

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