ACLS Digital Justice Seed Grants
ACLS is now accepting applications for this competition.
The deadline for this competition is December 15, 2023, 9 PM EST.
- Amount: between $10,000 and $25,000
- Grant terms must begin between July 1, 2024 and December 31, 2024, with a workplan that lasts from 12-18 months.
- Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS online fellowship and grant administration system (ofa.acls.org) no later than 9 PM Eastern Standard Time, December 15, 2023.
- Notifications will be sent via email in spring 2024.
- Contact [email protected] with program inquiries
- For more information, see our FAQ.
- Supplementary materials, including example application components, are available here.
The American Council of Learned Societies is pleased to invite applications for Digital Justice Seed Grants, which are made possible by The Mellon Foundation. Through both their content and methods, projects funded by ACLS Digital Justice Seed Grants pursue the following activities:
- Engage with the interests and histories of people of color and other historically marginalized communities, including (but not limited to) Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities; people with disabilities; and queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people.
- Explore or experiment with new materials, methodologies, and research agendas by way of planning workshops, prototyping, and/or testing products.
- Cultivate greater openness to new sources of knowledge and strategic approaches to content building and knowledge dissemination.
- Engage in capacity building efforts, including but not limited to: pedagogical projects that train students in digital humanities methods as a key feature of the project’s content building practice; publicly engaged projects that develop new technological infrastructure with community partners; trans-institutional projects that connect scholars across academic and cultural heritage institutions.
This program addresses inequities in access to tools and support for digital work among scholars across various fields, those working with under-utilized or understudied source materials, and those in institutions with less support for digital projects. It promotes inclusion and sustainability by extending the opportunity to participate in the digital transformation of humanistic inquiry to a greater number of humanities scholars and projects at the beginning stages of development. Finally, ACLS Digital Justice Seed Grants offer scholars and project leaders general financial planning coaching from the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Such an opportunity provides a foundation upon which grant recipients can envision the possible long-term financial options for supporting their digital projects.
ACLS grants may not support projects whose sole or primary focus is the production of creative works (e.g., novels or films), textbooks, straightforward translations, or purely pedagogical projects. Institutional indirect costs will not be covered.
- Project’s principal investigator must be a scholar in the humanities and/or the interpretative social sciences.
- Project must be within the start-up or prototyping phase of development.
- Projects must be made as widely available as intellectual property constraints allow, ideally with the most liberal open-source and Creative Commons license that is appropriate for the underlying content.
- An institution of higher education in the United States must administer awarded grant funds.
Peer reviewers in this program evaluate all eligible proposals on the following criteria:
- The project’s advancement of equity and justice by centering and engaging with understudied, underfunded, or otherwise marginalized topics of inquiry that are relevant to both society and scholarship.
- The feasibility of the project plans, as well as a realistic assessment of how risks and challenges will be managed.
- The proposal’s analysis of the various technological, financial, and/or institutional supports (or lack thereof) and how grant funds might complement, or in some cases, completely underwrite, these gaps in support.
- The project’s potential to bolster the ecosystem of digital scholarship within and/or outside the project’s home institution, whether by (yet not limited to) its intellectual contributions, innovative use of existing technology, and/or networks of skills-building and sharing.
- The project’s clarity with respect to how it will engage various publics (e.g. as intellectual partners or as audiences of the produced content) and why.
Applications for Seed Grants contain the following components:
Project Narrative, seven pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font. The narrative must include the following sections:
- Project Overview: This section should provide an overview of the project, including plans, methods, and rationale. What is the significance of the material and for which target audiences? What value do digital methods bring to the project? How do these methods bear on subjects that have historically been underrepresented or under-studied in academe? The strongest overviews will clearly articulate the project’s intervention as well as assess any potential barriers to achieving the project’s goals.
- Infrastructure: Applicants should discuss how their projects utilize the software, hardware, and staff support that constitute the local infrastructure (technological, human, etc.) at their affiliated institutions. How might grant funds support the project’s potential to bolster the ecosystem of digital scholarship within and/or outside the project’s affiliated institution(s), whether by (yet not limited to) its intellectual contributions, innovative use of existing technology, and/or networks of skills-building and sharing?
- Data Ethics: Applicants should discuss the intersection between data ethics and data management, especially if their projects feature community partners in both content and content creation.
Bibliography, no more than two pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font. The bibliography should reflect works cited in the proposal and other key scholarship from the fields in which the project will intervene.
Project Timeline, no more than two pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font.
The project timeline should demonstrate a coherent plan for the development and execution of the project, including the sequence of tasks to be accomplished within the grant period.
Budget and Budget Description, no more than two pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font. The budget should provide a detailed account of the proposed use of the grant funds, such as purchasing equipment or software, funding graduate or undergraduate research assistants, or planning conferences, round tables, or focus groups. Please include a narrative that summarizes why your proposed budget is appropriate for the project, as well as a discussion of some potential financial and non-financial resources (i.e. in-kind support, near-term partnerships on campus or off, etc.) that the project may be able to access.
Applicants are encouraged to use the sample budget template provided by ACLS. Grant funds may not pay for institutional overhead. However, direct administrative costs, such as office expenses and an honorarium for office assistance, are allowed. If applicable, the budget plan can include any proposed cost-sharing measures undertaken by the host institution or a third party.
Project Staffing, no more than two pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font.
Please provide a list of the names and institutional affiliations of members of the project team, along with a description of no more than one paragraph of each member’s role(s) and capacities on the project.
Institutional Verification, to be submitted separately via ACLS’s online portal.
The institutional statement should be submitted by a senior official of the principal investigator’s home institution or the institution hosting the project (i.e., a dean, provost, president, or other appropriate senior administrator). The institutional verification is not a formal letter of recommendation. It does not require administrators to assess the scholarly ambitions of the proposed project. Rather, it is a form with a series of check boxes as well as a fill-in field for brief comments on the available technological resources at the institution, and how the activities supported by the grant would be counted for purposes of promotion and tenure at their respective institution.
Intellectual Property Agreement, to be opted into as part of the program’s eligibility confirmation. Applicants must commit to: (a) making any software developed with grant funds available pursuant to an open-source license located at www.opensource.org and in a public repository (such as GitHub or Sourceforge); (b) making any digital content broadly available; and (c) no infringement of third-party rights with respect to the development, dissemination, and use of the software and/or digital content; (d) reporting to ACLS on whether and how they have complied with the commitments regarding intellectual property made in the proposal. The creators of the software, digital products, and content created with support of ACLS grant funds will retain intellectual property ownership rights of those materials. Digital content should be made as widely available as intellectual property constraints allow, ideally with the most liberal Creative Commons license that is appropriate to the underlying content.
Contact [email protected] with program inquiries.