ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships

Fellowship Details

  • Amount (for stipends): up to $60,000
  • Amount (for project costs): up to $25,000
  • Tenure: one academic year, to be initiated between July 1, 2014 and September 1, 2015
  • Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (ofa.acls.org) no later than 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, September 26, 2013.
  • Notifications will be sent by early February 2014.

ACLS invites applications for the ninth annual competition for the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships, thanks to the generous assistance of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This program supports digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating such works.

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships are intended to support an academic year dedicated to work on a major scholarly project that takes a digital form. Projects may:

  • Address a consequential scholarly question through new research methods, new ways of representing the knowledge produced by research, or both;
  • Create new digital research resources;
  • Increase the scholarly utility of existing digital resources by developing new means of aggregating, navigating, searching, or analyzing those resources;
  • Propose to analyze and reflect upon the new forms of knowledge creation and representation made possible by the digital transformation of scholarship.

ACLS will award up to six Digital Innovation Fellowships in this competition year. Each fellowship carries a stipend of up to $60,000 towards an academic year’s leave and provides for project costs of up to $25,000. ACLS does not support creative works (e.g., novels or films), textbooks, straightforward translations, or purely pedagogical projects.

This year’s successful applicants may take up the fellowship in 2014-2015 or at any time up to September 1, 2015, with tenure completed by June 30, 2016. Fellowship tenure may be one continuous year, or two semesters taken over two years, but candidates must commit themselves firmly to their preferred timeframe on their completed applications.

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships are intended as salary replacement and may be held concurrently with other fellowships and grants and any sabbatical pay up to an amount equal to the candidate’s current academic year salary.

Given the nature of the program, proposals need to explicitly state the means and tools (software, applications, interfaces) to be used to accomplish the project’s goals. Furthermore, a project plan and budget are required. These fellowships also include provision for additional project costs, which may be used for project-related expenses such as software, equipment, travel, or consultant fees. (See sample budget.) Institutional indirect costs will not be covered.

Objectives

The aim of this program is to provide scholars the means to pursue intellectually significant projects that deploy digital technologies intensively and innovatively.

The fellowship therefore includes a stipend to allow an academic year’s leave from teaching, and funds that may be used for purposes such as:

  1. Access to tools and personnel for digital production. This could include acquiring hardware and software, engaging consultants, or purchasing access to digital collections. Preference will be given to project plans that make the most efficient use of existing cyberinfrastructure, either on the applicant’s campus, host institution, or beyond.
  2. Collaborative work. Applications are encouraged that include, where appropriate, plans for contact with centers for humanities computing or with disciplinary and interdisciplinary research centers (such as campus and national humanities centers).
  3. Dissemination and Preservation. Applicants must specify how their projects will be presented and preserved. Applicants should also outline strategies for raising the visibility of their projects at workshops, seminars, conferences, and meetings of their field or discipline.

While demonstration of scholarly excellence will be the primary criterion for selection, such excellence should be manifest in the digital context. Applicants should discuss both the intellectual ambitions of the project and its technological underpinnings. Proposals should specify how digital technologies add value to humanistic study.

Further, proposals will be evaluated relative to the technical requirements for completing a successful research project; evidence of significant preliminary work already completed; the comparative advantage of the proposed project as measured against other related or similar projects; and (as appropriate) those features of the proposal that would promote teamwork and collaboration in the course of the project. Successful applicants should also indicate how their projects articulate with the local infrastructure at their home institutions or the institution hosting the project.

Applicants must present a coherent plan for development of their project, including a description of tasks to be accomplished within the period of the fellowship, and the budget required for those tasks. The project budget is an essential element of the application and its evaluation will weigh in the overall selection process. The project plan should reflect a thoughtful approach to the project’s sustainability, scalability, dissemination, and preservation, and include a statement addressing intellectual property issues.

All applications must include the endorsement of a senior administrator of the applicant’s institution or the institution hosting the project. This endorsement should include discussion of how the institution’s existing cyberinfrastructure complements and supports the technologies to be developed for the specified project.

Eligibility

  1. This program is open to scholars in all fields of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences.
  2. Applicants must have a Ph.D. degree conferred prior to the application deadline. (An established scholar who can demonstrate the equivalent of the Ph.D. in publications and professional experience may also qualify.)
  3. U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is required as of the application deadline.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  • Completed application form
  • 10-page Proposal (double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font). The proposal should explain your research plan in relation to the objectives of the Digital Innovation Fellowship Program. The narrative statement should explain, briefly but specifically, what you plan to do and why, as well as describe progress already made, make clear the relevance of the project to your professional experience, and discuss the significance of this work within your specific and general fields. Please balance the description of specific work plans against an overview of your goals and the contribution this project will make to digital scholarship generally and to the particular scholarly field(s) it engages. Furthermore, proposals should explicitly state the means and tools (software, applications, interfaces) to be used to accomplish the project’s goals. Proposals should present plans for how the project will be sustained and preserved over time, and how the applicant will disseminate notice of its availability.  Please give your proposal a brief, descriptive title, and label sections of your narrative as appropriate to assist readers.   In addition, if your project is part of a collaborative undertaking, it is essential to explain that context and describe your relationship to the other participants. Please also list the names of your colleagues and indicate whether or not those individuals are also applying for ACLS fellowships in the current competition.
  • 3-page Bibliography providing an overview of the publications central to advancing the project; annotation may be provided to accompany certain items
  • Publications list (no more than two pages)
  • Project plan (no more than three pages) providing a coherent plan for development of the project, including a description of tasks to be accomplished within the period of the fellowship. This plan should reflect a thoughtful approach to the project’s sustainability, scalability, dissemination, and preservation, and include a statement addressing intellectual property issues.
  • Budget plan (no more than two pages) providing a detailed account of the proposed use of the research funds. (See sample budget.)
  • 3 reference letters
  • Institutional statement from a senior official of your home institution or the institution hosting the project (dean, provost, president, or other appropriate person). The provided form asks the institutional representative to confirm that the institution’s existing cyberinfrastructure complements and supports the technologies to be developed for the specified project.

Criteria Used in Judging ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship Applications

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

  1. Scholarly excellence, in terms of the project’s intellectual ambitions and technological underpinnings.
  2. The project’s feasibility.
  3. The project’s intellectual, technological, and institutional sustainability.
  4. The project’s portability, accessibility, and scalability. Will it be widely used by the scholarly field it concerns?
  5. The project’s articulation with local infrastructure at the applicant’s home institution or at the institution hosting the project.

For more details, visit http://www.acls.org/grants/Default.aspx?id=508