Digital Humanities Seed Grants

This grant program is currently paused for budgetary reasons, but we hope to resume when funds are available.

2019 Seed Grant Guidelines

The IDRH Digital Humanities Seed Grants are intended to support KU faculty and academic staff as they plan or pilot a collaborative digital humanities project, which will, with seed grant support, result in a more competitive subsequent external funding application. 

Deadline: Note: the deadline has been extended by two days to Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 11:59pm.

Amount: Up to $15,000.  Partial funding of projects is common.

Proposals should be for the initial stages of a digital research project in the humanities, and should include a commitment to apply within a year for a specific external funding opportunity. Seed grants may be used to create pilot projects, develop ideas via a workshop, attend workshops, support project-related travel, hold a substantial planning or brainstorming session, or similar activities. Projects can include, but are not limited to:

  • text analysis and data-mining techniques;
  • data visualization techniques;
  • application of Geographic Information Systems to humanities research;
  • examination of emerging multimedia and multimodal technologies in the humanities;
  • collaborative work via Internet sites and tools (e.g. commons-based peer production);
  • development of new digital tools for analyzing and making available digital resources;
  • new digital models of publication and dissemination of scholarship; or
  • digital technology for research and teaching
  • prototypes of software, machine-actionable corpora, or digital publications
  • applications of—or studies of—machine learning and computational approaches to humanities research.

Successful projects will be interdisciplinary and collaborative and will include two or more faculty and/or staff working together.

Applicants should direct all questions about the Digital Humanities Seed Grants to IDRH co-directors Brian Rosenblum ( and Dave Tell (

The primary applicant for the project must be a tenured or tenure-track KU faculty member, or academic staff, whose work is situated in the humanities, humanities-oriented social sciences, or arts. Proposals are welcome in any area of the humanities. Project partners may include researcher in the same or different units; as well as academic staff or information technologists. Preference will be given to collaborations involving two or more disciplines.

All application materials must be submitted to idrh@ku.ed no later than 11:59pm on November 1st, 2019.  Paper submissions will not be accepted. Successful applicants will be notified before December 1st. The award period will be December 1st, 2019 through November 30th, 2020.

  • All applicants who are selected for the program will be asked to participate in a Digital Humanities workshop in during the period of the award.
  • Recipients are expected to submit at least one major external grant application during the seed grant period or within the following 9-month period. Recipients are encouraged to work with and submit external applications related to the project through the Hall Center for the Humanities Grant Development Office.
  • Award winners must submit their final reports on the project to IDRH by 11:59pm on March 1, 2021, following the end of the grant period. The report should describe the outcomes of the efforts, the current stage of the project, and plans for continuing the project beyond the collaborative seed grant period, including external funding plans.
  • Successful applicants should be willing to present their project as part of the Hall Center for the Humanities Faculty Seminar in Digital Humanities.

For an application to be verified as complete, and thus forwarded for committee review, applicants must submit the following:

  1. Cover Email: This should include your full name, department affiliation, phone number, email address, mailing address, proposed project title, and a brief (no more than one sentence) project description.
  2. Project Description, not to exceed 3 double-spaced pages, with one-inch margins and 11-point type. Do not assume specialized knowledge on the parts of reviewers. The description should address the following:
    1. Project Title: No more than 150 characters.
    2. Project Synopsis: Provide a clear and concise description of your research project, the main elements of your project design. Discuss how your project incorporates digital humanities to advance your research questions, and the value of these questions to your field(s) and/or to the digital humanities. 
    3. Methods and Resources: Describe the methods, data, sources, tools expertise, infrastructure, or other support or resources you will draw on to make the digital humanities elements of this project as effective as possible.
    4. External Funding Plan: Please identify the external funding opportunity/ies you are seeking to fund this project once the seed grant award period expires. Justify why you think your project is a good fit for these external funding sources.
    5. Timeline and Work Plan: Detail the work you and your partners will accomplish during the year of funding and provide a timeline for major accomplishments during the grant period, including the submission of external funding applications. Address issues of data management or project sustainability, if appropriate.
    6. Impact: Describe the impact this project will have on your field, on the digital humanities, and on the humanities more broadly when it is complete.
  3. Curriculum Vitae, not to exceed two pages for each PI/co-PI. CVs should include the following information, as applicable:
    1. Record of applicant's education, including the dates when degrees were awarded
    2. Record of applicant's employment
    3. List of applicant's most relevant publications;
    4. Most relevant digital humanities experience;
    5. List of applicant's awards and grants received during the last five years.
  4. Budget Form. Complete and attach the Seed Grant Budget Form (pdf). Please research all costs and provide as accurate a budget as possible. Partial funding is common, so please ask only for what you need.

No extraneous materials will be considered. The Project Description, Curriculum Vitae, and Budget Form should be attached to the Cover Email as one single PDF with the filename:


The email subject heading should read: “Digital Humanities Seed Grant Application: Applicant Last Name, Applicant First Name” and should be sent to before the deadline of November 3rd, 2019 at 11:59pm.

A committee appointed by the IDRH co-directors recommends grant recipients according to the following criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of the conception, definition, goals, organization, and description of the proposed project.
  • Evidence that the proposed project will be competitive for multiple external funding awards. Preference is given to proposals in which the extramural funding targets are major research grants, not fellowships.
  • Feasibility of the proposed project as evidenced by a clear and reasonable work plan, timeline, and budget.
  • Potential impact of the proposed project on the advancement of the digital humanities field and of the humanities more broadly.
  • Project is a collaboration between two or more researchers. The two researchers may be in the same or different units; one may be faculty and the other, academic staff and/or information technologists. Preference is given to interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Proposal addresses anticipated issues related to access, management and sustainability for intended audiences. (IDRH, together with KU Libraries, offers consulting and specific support for data management by appointment.)

Awards may not be used for:

  • Editions, unless a new edition makes innovative use of digital technology (e.g. for analysis and/or dissemination);
  • Surveys or collection inventories;
  • Preparation of textbooks intended for classroom use;
  • Policy studies or education impact assessments;
  • Research in educational methods or tests; or
  • Digitization of materials, unless part of a larger analytical digital project.

An interdisciplinary panel of KU faculty with successful digital humanities research track records is nominated to select awardees each year by the IDRH co-directors.  Reviewers meet to discuss individual applications and determine awardees.  A synopsis of reviewer comments will be sent to all applicants, regardless of whether or not a grant is awarded, by the IDRH co-directors within two months after the submission deadline in order to help applicants improve their written proposals.

Application Overview

  • Deadline: Applications Closed

  • Eligibility: Tenured, tenure-track, or academic staff at KU

  • Award: Up to $15,000

Go to

Past Recipients



Parthenon Frieze in Color

P.I.: Phil Stinson (Classics) & Chad Kraus (Architecture)

Awarded January 2020

The working title of a planned future exhibit at the Wilcox Classical Museum is “The Parthenon Frieze In Color”. Using digital technology and the collection’s existing plaster casts, the subject of the exhibit is the original—now lost—painted decoration of the Parthenon Frieze (5th c. BCE) from the Athenian Acropolis in Greece. The fact that ancient sculptures were originally brightly colored in paint and other applied polychromatic decorations is a rich subject of research today (Abbe 2015; Talbot 2018). Experimental reconstructions into the original appearance of ancient sculptures based on scientific research have appeared in exhibits in Europe and the United States over the last decade. We aim to create the first permanent one-to-one scale digital remediation of the polychromy of the Parthenon Frieze in a teaching-museum setting.


After #BringBackOurGirls: Hashtag Feminism in Nigeria

P.I.: Stacey Vanderhurst (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) & James Yeku (African & African-American Studies)

Awarded January 2020

This project envisions an interdisciplinary and collaborative investigation of hashtag feminism in Nigeria. We propose using digital and ethnographic tools to analyze how social media technologies have reshaped political activism amongst Nigerian women, from the 2014 #BringBackOurGirls campaign to a range of more recent campaigns against sexual violence. By combining analytical tools for web scraping of social media data with immersive on- and off-line study of the people behind the content, it leverages the full tools of the digital humanities to better understand the gendered technologies of citizenship, in Nigeria and around the world.


KU Editorial Branch of the American World War I Poetry Digital Archive

P.I.: Lorie Vanchena, Associate Professor, Germanic Languages & Literatures

Awarded March 2015

This project focuses on poetry written by immigrants in America during World War I (1910- 1920). These poems exist in non-digital formats widely dispersed throughout North America and Europe. The Archive creates a single resource of digitized poems, scholarly transcriptions, annotations, and contextual materials, making the poems gateways that help users understand the broader historical, national, cultural, and ethnic contexts. This project not only centralizes and makes accessible this unique poetry, it also provides scholarly analysis demonstrating how WWI shapes our world today.


From The Brushes of Ancient Scribes: An Online Database and Intuitive Visualization Interface for Research into the Fifth-Century BC Wenxian Covenant Texts

P.I.: Crispin Williams, Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures

Awarded March 2013

The grant will fund the construction and initial data entry for an online database critical to realize the full research potential of the Wenxian Covenant Texts. The website’s sophisticated search options and intuitive visualization interface will reveal complex relationships between these texts, their media, provenance, script, scribes, and language. Software will include MySQL, PHP, XHTML with CSS, HTML5. The pilot study will attract external funding, ensuring the project’s completion. This will result in publications, a public website, and a new Open Source visualization interface.


Digital Resources for Second Language Acquisition Research: An Annotated Longitudinal Corpus of Learner German

P.I.: Nina Vyatkina, Assistant Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures

Awarded May 2011

This project aims to annotate, analyze, and make publicly available a digital longitudinal corpus of writing samples collected from American learners of German at dense time intervals over several semesters. This project will advance the digital humanistic scholarship by applying a new annotation schema developed specifically for learner language, evaluating the output of this annotation, and publishing the corpus and studies afforded by this annotation. This international project will combine the PI’s language acquisition expertise and the collaborator's computational linguistics expertise.

KanDEL: Kansas Developmental Learner Corpus

Additional publications:

Vyatkina, N. (2016). KANDEL: A developmental corpus of learner German [Journal Articles]. International Journal of Learner Corpus Research2(1), 102–120.