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NEH’s Research and Development Program for U.S. Nonprofit Organizations

NEH’s Research and Development Program for U.S. Nonprofit Organizations

Deadline: 15 May 2020

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Division of Preservation and Access is accepting applications for the Research and Development program.

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The Research and Development program supports projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources. These challenges include the need to find better ways to preserve materials of critical importance to the nation’s cultural heritage—from fragile artifacts and manuscripts to analog recordings and digital assets subject to technological obsolescence—and to develop advanced modes of organizing, searching, discovering, and using such materials.

This program supports projects at all stages of development, from early planning and stand-alone studies, to advanced implementation. Research and Development projects contribute to the evolving and expanding body of knowledge for heritage practitioners, and for that reason, outcomes may take many forms. Projects may produce any combination of laboratory datasets, guidelines for standards, open access software tools, workflow and equipment specifications, widely used metadata schema, or other products.

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Research and Development supports work on the entire range of humanities collection types including, but not limited to, moving image and sound recordings, archaeological artifacts, born digital and time-based media, rare books and manuscripts, material culture, and art. Applicants must demonstrate how advances in preservation and access through a Research and Development project would benefit the cultural heritage community by supporting humanities research, teaching, or public programming.

Research and Development projects are encouraged to address one or more of the following areas of special interest:

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Preserving audiovisual and digital heritage. Research and Development supports ongoing work to address the needs of collection formats most at risk of obsolescence. Projects may consider addressing issues such as format degradation, preservation work at scale, algorithmic and machine learning methodologies, storage, data appraisal, and curation.
Conserving material past. Research and Development supports the scientific work to improve the conservation treatment and preventive care of cultural heritage.
Protecting cultural heritage. Research and Development supports the development of tools, methods, technologies, or workflows for documenting, sharing, visualizing, and presenting lost or imperiled cultural heritage materials.
Reaching under-represented communities. Research and Development supports work in making preservation and access activities more accessible, sustainable, and manageable for institutions with limited capacities and access to humanities collections, including persons with disabilities. NEH especially encourages projects that address and/or include as lead applicants and project partners institutions representing minority and indigenous communities.
Funding Categories

Research and Development offers two funding tiers in order to address projects at all stages of development and implementation.

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Tier I: Planning, Basic Research, or Adaptation
Tier I provides awards of up to $75,000 for a period of performance of up to two years. This tier supports the following activities:
Planning and preliminary work for large-scale research and development projects.
Proposals must identify one or more project deliverables, such as the creation of an action agenda, work plan, published report, draft standard, or software prototype, that prepares the project team for subsequent stages of work.
Discrete research projects such as case studies or laboratory experiments.
Refinements to established standards, models, and tools.
Adaptation or application of new or recently updated standards, methodologies, tools and equipment, or workflows for targeted institution types and audiences, helping to ensure broad adoption by the field.
Activities may take many forms and may include, but are not limited to, any combination of: workshops, symposia, forums, documentation, user testing, public demonstrations, online resources and tutorials, websites, or publications.
Tier I projects may be stand-alone studies that do not involve planning or preliminary research for a larger project. Nevertheless, they must address research issues or problems in the cultural heritage field.
Tier II: Advanced Implementation
Tier II provides awards of up to $350,000 for a period of performance of up to three years. This level supports projects at a more advanced stage of implementation for the following activities:
Development of standards, practices, methodologies, or workflows for preserving and creating access to humanities collections.
Applied research addressing preservation and access issues concerning humanities collections.
Tier II projects must demonstrate significant planning and preliminary research in one or more relevant fields. Support for that planning might come from NEH, from other federal or foundation awards, or from an institution’s own funds.
Successful completion of a Tier I project is not a prerequisite for applying for a Tier II award.

Funding Information

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Approximately $1,200,000 is expected to be available to fund up to six recipients.
You may apply for a ceiling amount of up to $75,000 for Tier I awards and $350,000 for Tier II awards.
The period of performance is up to two years for Tier I awards and up to three years for Tier II awards. All awards will have a start date of March 1, 2021.
Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments.
Foreign and for-profit entities and individuals are not eligible to apply.
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=325413

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