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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:

06/05/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and IHEs for digital humanities projects. Applicants must create or verify the required registrations by May 8 and May 22. This program will support digital projects at any stage of development, from the early start-up phase through implementation, as well as long-term sustainability.

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG) 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 program, leading to innovative work that can scale to enhance scholarly research, teaching, and public programming in the humanities. You can find a discussion of the forms that experimentation can take in the Frequently Asked Questions document, which is available on the program resource page.

Proposals are welcome for digital initiatives in any area of the humanities.

Through a special partnership with NEH, 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. 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.

This program is authorized by 20 USC §956 et seq. Awards are subject to 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.

Grant levels:

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. See the Award Information section below for more details.

Level I awards (from $10,000 to $50,000) 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 (from $50,001 to $100,000) 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.

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants at both Level I and Level II stages support activities for periods of performance (award periods) up to eighteen months.

Level III awards (from $100,001 to $325,000 for up to three years) 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 NEH award amount may be used to acquire computing hardware and software. All grant recipients must communicate the results of their work to appropriate scholarly and public audiences.

Grant recipients must submit a white paper. This white paper should document the project, including lessons learned, so that others can benefit. This white paper will be posted on the NEH website.

All proposals will be required to include a data management plan that discusses how data will be preserved. (Please see the instructions for this component of the application below for more details.) Level III Digital Humanities Advancement Grants must also include a sustainability plan that discusses long-term support for the project. (Please see the instructions for this component of the application below for more details.)

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.

In addition, NEH especially encourages projects that include Native American organizations and communities as lead applicants and project partners.

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 additional funds will go toward some DHAG projects that advance the IMLS mission of improving broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

Through this partnership, IMLS funds would support some Level I and II projects that involve collaborations with museums and/or libraries. 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. Note that while some projects may be funded in part by IMLS, all awards will be issued by NEH; all grant recipients must follow NEH grant management procedures.

As part of NEH’s partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, some awards may include funds from IMLS and will be identified as joint NEH/IMLS projects.

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, include Native American organizations and communities as lead applicants and project partners, or involve collaboration with libraries or museums.

Providing access to NEH-funded products:

As a taxpayer-supported federal agency, NEH aims to ensure that scholars, educators, students, and the American public have ready and easy access to the wide range of NEH-funded 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 disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. For more information consult Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator's Handbook here.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176104

Estimated Size of Grant:

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants have three levels of funding:

-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, which brings the total request to a maximum of $375,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects may begin January 1, 2019.

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.


  • 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:

U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments are eligible to apply. Eligible organizations include institutions of higher education.

Individuals and foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.

Eligible applicant institutions may submit multiple applications for separate and distinct projects under this announcement.
Applications must be complete, must observe the specified page limits, and must be validated by under the correct funding opportunity number to be considered under this notice.

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.

Overlapping project costs between two or more applications for federal funding and/or approved federal award budgets is not permitted.

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 total NEH award amount;
-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;
-Lobbying; 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 eligible third parties raised to release federal matching funds. Applicants are welcome to use voluntary cost sharing for projects in which the total budget exceeds the NEH grant limit. Voluntary cost sharing includes nonfederal cash contributions by the applicant and eligible third parties, as well as third party in-kind contributions, such as donated services and goods.

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.

Sustainability Match: Long-standing projects that serve a wide audience frequently require the support of their host institution. To encourage institutions to leverage external funding so as to sustain digital initiatives, applicants may apply for a Sustainability Match. This match, which is available only for Level III projects, allows up to an additional $50,000 in matching funds, which must be matched one-to-one by nonfederal gift funds raised from eligible third parties. (This additional funding, which brings the total request to a maximum of $375,000, is designed to encourage robust and creative approaches to sustaining initiatives and resources likely to have enduring impact over the long term.) Matching funds may support appropriate activities that will take place during the period of performance: for example, the work of personnel dedicated to data curation, long-term storage considerations, extended documentation plans, training, and other efforts to build and sustain an audience. This additional funding must contribute to implementation of plans described in the following application components: the data management plan and the sustainability plan.

This program is offered twice per year.

Applicants must:
-Register or verify your registration with SAM. Complete at least six weeks before the deadline.
-Verify your institution’s registration or register your institution with Complete at least two weeks before deadline.

Program staff recommends that draft proposals be submitted at least six weeks before the deadline. Time constraints may prevent staff from reviewing draft proposals submitted after that date.

Applications must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on June 5, 2018. will date- and time-stamp your application after it is fully uploaded. Late applications will not be reviewed.


-Until June 5, 2018: Contact Office of Digital Humanities program officers (at with questions and for advice (optional)

-April 24, 2018: Submit draft application by this date (optional)

-May 8, 2018: Register your institution or validate its registration at the System for Award Management by this date

-May 22, 2018: Register your institution (or verify its registration) with by this date

-June 5, 2018: Submit application through by this date

-August 2018: Peer review panels take place

-November 2018: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions

-December 2018: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions

-January 2019: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail

-January 2019: Successful applicants begin work on their projects

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