FAQ: ACLS Digital Extension Grants Updated July 10, 2019

Eligibility

Q: What stage of project development do these grants fund?

Q: May I apply as the principal investigator if I have the equivalent of a PhD?

Q: The program description states that a portion of the project costs must be devoted to collaborations with new project partners who could benefit from access to the infrastructure or participation in the development of the project. What kinds of project costs are eligible for this requirement?

Q: May I apply to more than one ACLS fellowship or grant program in the same competition year?

Online grant application process

Q: May I edit an application submitted in a previous competition and resubmit it for this year?

Q: How long does it take to fill out the application?

Q: Do I have to complete the application all at once?

Q: Does ACLS accept reference letters from Interfolio or university-based dossier services?

Review process

Q: Who is reading my proposal?

Q: What kinds of projects are usually successful in the ACLS Digital Extension Grant competition? Do you have examples of successful proposals?

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?

Eligibility

Q: What stage of project development do these grants fund?
A: The program funds established digital humanities projects that can demonstrate evidence of significant preliminary work as well as a record of accomplishment and impact with scholarly audiences. Projects in the start-up phase or in early stages of development are ineligible for these grants.

Q: May I apply as the principal investigator if I have the equivalent of a PhD?
A: If you have published scholarly work on a par with the academic work required by the PhD degree, you may apply as the principal investigator. You need to have completed a substantial academic project that required a sustained period of research, similar to a dissertation, in the humanities or humanities-related social sciences.

Please note that we do not consider a JD in itself to satisfy the PhD equivalency unless it was accompanied by a) a record of scholarly publications that are humanistic in nature (as opposed to case studies or technical legal issues) and b) a substantial academic project that required a sustained period of research (such as a dissertation or book).

Q: The program description notes states that a portion of the project costs must be devoted to collaborations with new project partners who could benefit from access to the infrastructure or from participation in the development of the project. What kinds of project costs are eligible for this requirement?
A: The ACLS Digital Extension Grant program encourages inter-institutional collaboration and community building activities in the digital humanities, with special emphases upon convening and training communities of faculty and graduate students as well as expanding opportunities for scholars from institutions with limited digital infrastructure. Thus, the program requires applicants to allocate a portion of the total project costs to support collaborations with new project partners who could benefit from access to the infrastructure at the project’s host site or from substantive participation in the development of the project. Eligible costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Arrangements (travel, lodging, space rental, equipment upgrades, etc.) that create sites for participation or training for faculty and graduate students from regional colleges and universities
  • Extensions of the project teams to include new collaborations with faculty and graduate students from higher education institutions of diverse profiles
  • Activities associated with building networks of new users or developers from among a range of higher education institutions, especially individuals whose research can be advanced by accessing the project’s cyberinfrastructure
  • Agreements between institutions to support established projects.

The exact allocation of funds for collaborative activities may be determined by the applicant. Applicants should include in the budget plan or proposal a brief, cogent description of these project costs.

Q: May I apply to more than one ACLS fellowship or grant program in the same competition year?
A: Yes, an applicant for this fellowship may also apply to as many fellowship and grant programs as are suitable. However, not more than one ACLS or ACLS-joint award may normally be accepted in any one competition year.

Online grant application process

Q: May I edit an application submitted in a previous competition and resubmit it for this year?
A: No, you will need to start over with a new online application.

Q: How long does it take to fill out the application?
A: This will vary, depending on how much work you have prepared before you begin the application process. Simply filling in the form will probably take an hour if not two, plus you will need to submit your proposal and supporting documents. You will also need to secure referees to write letters in support of your application. We highly recommend that you start the process several weeks before the deadline to get a sense of what is required and start preparing your materials.

Q: Do I have to complete the application all at once?
A: No, you may work on it in multiple sessions, though you will need to save your work after you finish each section of the application. Once you have submitted the application, you cannot work on it again.

Q: Does ACLS accept reference letters from Interfolio or university-based dossier services?
A: No. ACLS requests that reference letters contain specific elements targeted to the grant program, for example, directly addressing the applicant’s proposed research project. Reviewers have expressed strong reservations about letters from dossier services since they are necessarily general and thus less helpful in assessing the merits of the proposed project. This information is particularly crucial for proposals that reach the final round of selection where they are evaluated by multi-disciplinary committees. ACLS understands the demands placed on senior scholars and has sought to moderate that burden by reducing both the required number and the length of reference letters to minimum essential levels.

Review process

Q: Who is reading my proposal?
A: Applications for ACLS Digital Extension Grants are read by senior scholars from diverse fields in the humanities and related social sciences who have extensive expertise in digital research development and project management in a range of higher education institutions.

Q: What kinds of projects are usually successful in the ACLS Digital Extension Grant competition? Do you have examples of successful proposals?
A: The projects that are ultimately selected vary widely. While there is no one model to follow for a successful application and we do not provide examples of proposals that receive funding, you are encouraged to view previous awardees and brief project descriptions here. You may also benefit from asking an ACLS Digital Extension Grantee that you know to show you her or his proposal and from reviewing Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions by Christina M. Gillis.

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?
A: Yes, you may request feedback generated through ACLS's peer review process by writing to fellowships@acls.org with the subject line "Request for feedback –" followed by your full name, e.g. "Request for feedback – Jane Q. Applicant." Requests for comments from the 2019-20 competition must be received by June 30, 2020.

Due to the number of requests ACLS receives each year, and the work of administering new fellowships each spring, we do not begin processing feedback until the summer, after the competition year is complete. Thank you for your patience.

Please also note that feedback is made available at the discretion of each reviewer. Comments may not be available from every reviewer who assessed your application. We encourage peer reviewers to provide constructive feedback to applicants looking to improve on their ideas or how they express those ideas; comments are not an explanation or rationale for why an application was not selected for an award. Such feedback also is not intended to be directions that, if followed, would lead necessarily to greater success in future competitions. After all, the pool of reviewers changes every year, as does the pool of applications.