Calls for Proposals

  1. 2020-21 SHASS Faculty Fellowship in Digital Humanities
  2. Affiliated Faculty-UROP Projects in Digital Humanities
  3. Small Grants for Digital Projects in Teaching or Research
  4. Fund for Unfashionable Maintenance of digital Projects

2020-21 SHASS Faculty Fellowship in Digital Humanities

The Mellon-funded Programs in Digital Humanities at MIT invite proposals from SHASS faculty for projects at the intersection of computing and the arts, humanities, or social sciences to be conducted in the digital humanities lab in AY22 and AY23.

Funded proposals will enable a semester-long collaboration between the Faculty Fellow and the DH lab in developing digital tools and computational methods to advance humanistic or social scientific inquiry or to create new pedagogical resources. The digital humanities lab consists of a diverse group of 20–30 UROPs, who work closely with pre- and postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, staff, and faculty on groundbreaking research and teaching in the School.

Accepted proposals will receive $12,500 for teaching replacement and benefits for one subject (given to the scholar’s home department or section), a substantial portion of the lab’s research time for one semester (value: approximately $40,000), and up to $4,000 for materials and external services. Final deliverables include open-source code, websites, databases, and interactive tools.

In exchange, the Fellow agrees to be in residence in the lab at least 6 hours per week during the funded semester, working with the lab’s staff on project design and implementation and collaborating with the lab’s UROPs as both a teacher and co-creator. In addition to providing significant, discipline-specific instruction for UROPs in humanistic or social scientific sources, methods, and questions, the Fellow commits to developing the basic level of technical communication needed to use the tools that the lab develops on his/her behalf and to take an active role in project management.

No prior experience in digital humanities is necessary. A spirit of collaboration between teacher-scholars and students is, however, essential. The proposals are open to humanistic research defined broadly (including cultural, historical, and creative approaches to the arts and social sciences). Individuals eligible to apply include full-time regular faculty at all professorial ranks, senior lecturers, and full-time lecturers. (Visiting faculty, temporary and part-time lecturers, and sponsored research staff are not eligible.)

The faculty director and staff are happy to meet with any prospective applicants to answer questions before the deadline. To schedule an appointment to discuss a potential project, please email digitalhumanities@mit.edu. We welcome those with no prior experience using digital techniques in research or pedagogy to use this time to develop new ideas.

To apply, please send a proposal of approximately 500 words by Monday, February 1, 2021 to digitalhumanities@mit.edu. Please include in the description the expected research or pedagogical goals, some ideas of how MIT undergraduates would be able to help advance those goals, and a breakdown of anticipated expenses. A note of support from the Department Chair or Section Head allowing the teaching release, if funded, is also required. We anticipate funding up to four projects in AY22 and AY23.

Affiliated Faculty-UROP Projects in Digital Humanities

Do you have a UROP project that would benefit from technical guidance? Would you like your UROPs to be able to connect with others working on faculty research in the humanities, arts, and social sciences across SHASS and MIT?

As home of one of the largest UROP cohorts in SHASS, the MIT Programs in Digital Humanities are pleased to announce a new program of support and community for faculty and UROPs doing DH work outside of the digital humanities lab.

Affiliated Faculty will be able to consult with DH staff about technical questions and project management; UROP recruitment, advising, and retention; and establishing long-term sustainability of technical projects.

UROPs working with Affiliated Faculty will be invited to join the DH UROP community through regular open “hack hours” and office hours and to present their work at an end-of-semester research showcase.

This program is open to all SHASS PIs of any rank, including graduate students. It will run for two terms this year: Spring 2021 (January 1-May 31) and Summer 2021 (May 1-August 31).

Please contact digitalhumanities@mit.edu if you would like to set up a time to discuss a potential project. No prior coding or DH experience is necessary.

We are currently accepting applications for Affiliated Projects for Spring 2021 (January 1-May 31) and Summer 2021 (May 1-August 31).

To apply, please send a short (approx. 250 word) description of your project, including the number of UROPs you plan to employ, to digitalhumanities@mit.edu by December 15, 2020.

Small Grants for Digital Projects in Teaching or Research

Is there a software tool you’d like to use for teaching or research? A digital database or subscription service? Could you use a UROP to help you crunch data or scrape websites? The MIT Programs in Digital Humanities are now offering grants for digital projects in teaching and research. Unlike FUMP, these grants can be used to support new or ongoing work.

Smaller grants (of $200–$3000) will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Proposals for small grants must include a 250-500 word proposal and budget.

Larger grants (of $3000–$10,000) may be awarded on a periodic basis in consultation with DH staff. Please contact digitalhumanities@mit.edu if you would like to discuss this funding opportunity.

All MIT faculty, graduate students, and teaching staff are eligible to apply.

Please send applications and inquiries to digitalhumanities@mit.edu.

Fund for Unfashionable Maintenance of digital Projects

The “Fund for Unfashionable Maintenance of digital Projects” (to go by the equally unfashionable acronym FUMP) is a resource for the maintenance and upgrade of completed past digital projects that serve important research or teaching needs in the humanities, arts, or social sciences, but which technological changes have rendered unusable or clunky for current users.

We intend FUMP to address the problem that digital projects often lack funds for their maintenance and upgrade, since funding agencies are often unwilling to invest money to this end. FUMP awards can also be used to update and bring to MIT outside resources that are no longer maintained (with the permission of the original creators).

Examples of needs that this fund might address include:

- Updating broken links, layouts, and general "code rot"

- Updating applications in obsolete formats (e.g., Adobe Flash, Java applets, Microsoft ActiveX and Silverlight) to modern HTML5 standards

- Creating mobile-friendly versions of projects launched before the mobile device revolution

- Updating media in obsolete formats (RealPlayer, download-only video, etc.) to modern streaming formats

- "Keeping the lights on" by paying for servers, hosting, domain registrations, etc.

- Open-sourcing previously closed projects

Smaller FUMP awards ($200–$1000) provide for the maintenance and repair of existing projects and will be awarded on a rolling basis: please send a brief email proposal.

Larger FUMP awards ($1000–$10,000) allow for the upgrade and expansion of projects and require a 100-300 word proposal: these will be reviewed periodically.

All MIT faculty, graduate students, and teaching staff are eligible to apply.

Please send applications and inquiries to digitalhumanities@mit.edu.