The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to invite applications for the Digital Studio for the Public Humanities Grants for research conducted June 1, 2013 – September 1, 2014.  The Digital Studio for the Public Humanities – DSPH – encourages and supports public digital humanities research, scholarship and learning.

In an effort to simplify the process for applicants, the grant application and review criteria closely parallel the Arts & Humanities Initiative (AHI) program.  DSPH awardees are expected to make their proposed work a chief research priority for the grant period.  Those awardees with projects eligible for external fellowships and grants are encouraged to work with the Office of the Vice President for Research to develop proposals for external funding during the grant period. 

Applicants are encouraged to seek project development assistance from DSPH by contacting the staff at  AHI recipients may also be eligible for additional technical, publication or educational support from DSPH to develop public digital components of their projects.  

Budget requests may include travel, costs relating to public programs, equipment, supplies, summer salary, research personnel, honorarium/consultant fees, or any combination of these items, but a proposal must be for only one specific project.

All proposals must be submitted electronically to the Office of the Vice President for Research via the UIRIS website at The online submission site opens Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Applicants are advised to submit applications well in advance of the Wednesday, February 6, 2013, deadline to allow time to deal with any unanticipated electronic submission problems.  OVPR staff is available between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily to assist with submissions.

If you have questions, please direct them to Cheryl Ridgeway (384-3332;

Applicant Eligibility

  • All tenure-track and tenured faculty, clinical faculty, as well as professional and scientific staff members and lecturers for whom research and scholarship are assigned as one of the primary job responsibilities and have at least a 50% appointment during the time of their application and the year of the project are eligible to apply for a DSPH award.  We regret that visiting faculty, associates, postdoctoral associates, fellowship trainees, and graduate students are not eligible to apply.
  • The project director must play a primary role in the research.
  • An applicant may appear as a project director or co-director on only one DSPH proposal.
    An applicant may not apply to more than one internal funding program in the same cycle.
  • Recipients of an AHI, BSFP, DSPH, MPSFP or SSFP grant awarded or conducted in academic year 2012-2013 are not eligible for this call for proposals.

DSPH projects must be designed to result in the applicant developing research that will result in a digital project with a public dimension. Projects should make a significant contribution to the field, and enhance the applicant’s scholarly reputation among their peers.

Proposed DSPH projects must be conducted June 1, 2013 – September 1, 2014.  No funds will be provided for activities that already have taken place.  All DSPH grant activities must be undertaken and all funds must be expended (not just encumbered) by September 1, 2014.  Applicants may submit a proposal for a DSPH Grant or DSPH Conference Grant.

Types of Grants and Support Available

DSPH Grants ($7,500 maximum)

DSPH Grants are for individual or collaborative projects. Requests may be for research assistants, supplies, software, equipment, summer salary stipend for UI faculty on 9-month appointment (fringe benefits must be charged to the award and not to the college), domestic and international travel (including transportation, lodging and meals), or for any combination of these items. 

A list of the 2012-2013 DSPH Grants awardees, with thumbnail project descriptions is online at

Some hypothetical examples of proposals for DSPH Grants:

  • A collaborative team from Urban Planning and Computer Science proposes to develop a location-aware application for mobile devices that highlights the development of Iowa City’s downtown. Requested funds include $6,800 summer salary stipend for the researchers, plus $700 for mobile devices and software.
  • A professor in Art History wishing to develop a digital archive of materials in the Main Library’s collection requests $7,500 for a graduate assistant.  In collaboration with a Librarian Specialist, they intend to develop an external grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities to develop a campus and statewide symposium.
  • An applicant in Anthropology is developing a pilot public program with the Iowa State Library system for workshops on crowdsourcing local history. The applicant requests funds for travel and publicity costs, and the hiring of onsite production assistants. The proposal notes the applicant’s plan to apply for Humanities Iowa and National Endowment for the Humanities external funding.

DSPH Conference Grants ($10,000 maximum)

DSPH Conference Grants provide up to $10,000 total budget for any conference, colloquium, symposium or working research group.  Allowable expenses for conferences or symposia include speaker honoraria, visitor travel, printing, web and mobile web development, and advertising.  Preference may be given to humanities conferences designed to result in the development of a sustained collaboration within the University of Iowa that will encourage public digital humanities.

NB: The National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities define humanities and arts as follows: The term humanities includes but is not necessarily limited to the study of the following disciplines: language; linguistics; literature; history; philosophy; archaeology; religion; ethics; the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; and those aspects of the social sciences that have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods. Work in other fields, such as ethics-and-science or humanities-and-science, is eligible for support.


Enter budget items, costs and justification in the appropriate areas of the online form.  Be as specific as possible, listing each travel site, each piece of equipment, etc.  Explain why the requested item is essential for the proposed work.  Do not submit a budget as part of the narrative

The funding period is from June 1, 2013 through September 1, 2014.  Because it is assumed that awardees will make their DSPH grant their top scholarly/creative activity for the year, extensions will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances. 

Requested amounts may not exceed the levels stipulated above ($7,500 for DSPH Grants and $10,000 for DSPH Conference Grants).  UI faculty on 9-month appointment who are applying for a DSPH Grant may include in their request a summer stipend up to $7,500 (including fringe) if they are devoting their summer to their DSPH project.  Requests for Graduate Research Assistants must include tuition

General purpose equipment (desktop or laptop computers, etc.) are not eligible budget items.  Equipment purchased may be used exclusively by the applicant but remains the property of The University of Iowa.  In the budget section of the online application, briefly justify each requested item; that is, explain the purpose of each trip, each piece of equipment, and graduate assistant, etc.

Application Guidelines

Applications for all DSPH grants will be reviewed by a peer review group, advisory to the Vice President for Research.  Applicants are advised to write in a manner that will be clear to reviewers outside of the applicant’s field.

Potential applicants are welcome to contact DSPH staff via email ( to arrange a consultation in advance of the submission of their grants.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • The scholarly originality/creativity/significance of the research project.
  • How it builds on the work of others and on the applicant’s research and scholarship.
  • The reasonableness of the procedures.
  • The reasonableness of the timetable during the grant period and for the completion of the project.
  • The likelihood that the project will be completed and will produce an important work of scholarship.
  • If applicable, the likelihood that the project will attract external grant funding.
  • The record of achievement in the proposed area of the project director(s).
  • The necessity of the requested funds to advance the proposed work.
  • If applicable, results of previous AHI Grants.

All applications must contain:

  1. Budget and budget rationale/justification (entered in the online application).  Be as specific as possible in your discussion of each budget item, indicating how requested DSPH funds will be used.
  2. Project Abstract (entered in the online application) that provides a brief overview of the project.
  3. Narrative (five pages maximum single-spaced, plus one page Bibliography, plus one page Results of Previous AHI Grants, if applicable) that directly answers the following questions in the following order:
    1. What do you propose to do and why?
    2. Why is it an important research | scholarly contribution to your field?  How will it build on previous research in the field?  How will it build on your research?
    3. How will the proposed work proceed during the grant period?  Specify what and when you (and any others) will be doing during the grant period.  Be sure to incorporate requested budget items in your narrative: e.g., describe what your Research Assistant will be doing, or how you will be using your new equipment, and specify travel destinations and research sites with those destinations.  Describe potential difficulties or obstacles. State what will have been accomplished by the end of the grant period.
    4. What will be the anticipated final scholarly | research product?  When do you estimate it will be completed?  Give a rough timetable for the estimated completion date.  Identify likely venues for the completed work. NB: applicants developing Internet-based projects are encouraged to confer with DSPH staff in advance of the submission of applications to discuss infrastructure development and maintenance during and beyond the grant period.
    5. Indicate whether you will be developing a proposal for external funds.  Specify the likely agency or foundation.
  4. Results of previous AHI grants (if applicable)  (one page, single spaced):
    1. List all previous AHI grants awarded in the past five years.  Under each AHI Grant listed, please provide the following information:
      1. Full citation for publications or performances.
      2. Results other than publications or performances.
      3. If the proposed work has not yet been published or performed, please estimate when it will be completed and submitted for publication.
      4. If the proposed work will not be completed, briefly explain why.
    2. If your most recent AHI project has not yet been completed, briefly explain why you are proposing a new project for this competition.
  5. Support Materials
    1. Applicants are permitted to submit up to three multimedia samples of past projects and the one proposed. These can include, but are not limited to, websites, PowerPoint presentations, video, audio, project sketches and diagrams. An accompanying script should clearly describe the samples.  Note: Since reviewers tend to be most attentive to written proposals, applicants should be sure to develop a narrative that can stand on its own; e.g., when asked to describe the proposed project, do not direct reviewers to “see accompanying material.”)
    2. If submitting files in formats other than .pdf (for example, .pptx, .jpg, or .gif), please email them directly to
  6. Curriculum Vitae(s) of the Project Director(s).  Each CV is to be three pages maximum, single-spaced, that includes name; position; department or unit; degrees, when and where earned; relevant publications or creative projects; external grants and awards, and previous AHI grants.

Additional Information:

  • Combine the Narrative and Project Director’s CV into one pdf document (required format) to upload to the online application.
  • Combine Co-Director CV(s) into one pdf document to upload, if applicable.
  • The DSPH application site opens on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.
  • The application site closes at 11:59 p.m., on Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Please submit your application well in advance of the due date to allow time to deal with any unanticipated electronic submission problems. 

If you have questions regarding the submission process send them to or call Cheryl Ridgeway at 384-3332.