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The AHRC-Smithsonian Fellowships in Digital Scholarship

Application Deadline- – 26th July 2018

Building on a successful history of collaboration, the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom (AHRC) and the Smithsonian Institution are pleased to announce a new joint fellowship programme in digital scholarship. Through enhanced collaboration between world-leading institutions in the UK and US, the fellowships will seek to build digital research expertise in museums
and cultural / heritage sectors, facilitate the application of new digital methods and approaches and increase awareness of the impact and value of digitisation and digital collections.

The fellowships will be research-based and enable eligible scholars from UK institutions to undertake research at the Smithsonian, and for eligible scholars from US institutions to undertake research at leading museums and cultural / heritage institutions in the UK. The fellowships will be held over a one year period, which will include a funded placement of between 3 and 6 months. It is anticipated that around 5 fellowships will be available in each ‘direction’.

The Fellowships

Applications are sought from researchers for funded placements based at any of the eligible institutions identified in 3) below. They may address a broad range of subject areas and methods but must:

  • Be focused on the innovative research application of digital methods in museums and cultural / heritage institutions and offer the potential to have a transformational impact in the field;
  • Be research-driven, delivering outputs as appropriate, and form part of a wider research project / activity / collaboration of at least one years’ duration;
  • Present a career development opportunity for the fellow which includes how they will be supported during their time at the host institution;
  • Support cross-disciplinary research which brings the arts and humanities together with digital technologies and other relevant fields;
  • Build new links between discrete collections in the host and home institution, working across types of material in the Smithsonian and UK institutions, with the capacity to consolidate relationships between the respective institutions – and the UK and US more widely – in the focus area;
  • Demonstrate the unique value of undertaking the fellowship at the identified host; i.e. why the research proposed can only be undertaken there, and the way in which this will enrich the wider research project;
  • Be collaborative, demonstrating how the fellowship will embed knowledge exchange activity and engage other networks of researchers in the UK and US both within the host and home institutions and more widely;
  • Demonstrate plans for the sustainability of the outputs and networks formed through the fellowship beyond the funding period.

The award will be held over a one-year period, which will include a funded placement in the host institution of between 3 and 6 months’ duration. This could be undertaken either as a continuous period or in one month ‘blocks’ distributed over the course of the year. As above, it is expected that this would form part of a wider research project / activity / collaboration taking place over the full
year, but this need not constitute 100% of the applicants’ time – i.e. it might be drawn from the research time already allocated to the applicant as part of their contract at the home institution. A rationale would need to be provided for any given approach on this basis within the application. These fellowships are available to those working on a part-time basis, but the 3-6 month period of the funded placement must be undertaken on a 100% time basis.

Fellowships will be awarded and classified as follows:

  • AHRC- Smithsonian Rutherford Fellowships: supporting researchers based at US institutions to undertake funded placements at eligible institutions in the UK. Up to 5 fellowships will be awarded. Please note that we are particularly keen to support researchers who are at an early stage of their research career and / or heritage / museum professionals seeking to
    develop their research profile and leadership.
  • AHRC – Smithsonian Digital Scholarship Fellowships: supporting researchers from eligible UK institutions to undertake research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution. Up to 5 fellowships will be awarded. Please note that due to the requirements of the source from which this funding is derived, these fellowships are targeted at those who are at an early stage of their research career and /or heritage/ museum professionals seeking to develop their research profile and leadership.

Eligibility:

Rutherford Fellowships (US-UK)

  • Applications may be submitted by researchers based at any research-intensive institution in the US – including institutions from beyond the University sector such as museums, libraries and archives – to undertake a placement at any eligible UK institution. Applicants should hold a contract of employment that extends beyond the year-long period in which the fellowship will fall and in which the wider research activity sits, and should in their application explain how the proposed project is relevant to, and draws upon, collections / materials / expertise / at the Smithsonian and UK host institution. Applicants based at US institutions who do not
    currently have an affiliation with the Smithsonian will be able to apply to become a fellow or research associate at the Smithsonian if successful. Given the assumption that projects will require extensive access to collections/materials/data/expertise at the Smithsonian (unless an exceptional case can be made otherwise), all applicants will be required to provide a Letter of Support from the Smithsonian. For those that do not hold Smithsonian affiliation, this will need to identify the proposed host unit and a key point of contact / mentor therein. Where these links do not already exist, applicants should contact NMAH-Digital@si.edu in order to facilitate contact with the relevant unit.
  • Rutherford Fellows may be hosted by a UK museum or heritage /cultural institution which is either: i) eligible to receive AHRC funding (for example as an Independent Research Organisation (IRO) or University Museum) or ii) working in partnership with an institution eligible to receive AHRC funding (either an IRO or Higher Education Institution (HEI)). A Letter
    of Support will also be required from the proposed host in the UK.

AHRC Digital Scholarship Fellows (UK-US)

  • Applications for prospective fellows from the UK may be submitted by researchers based at i) a UK museum or heritage /cultural institution eligible to apply for AHRC funding (for example as an IRO or university museum) or ii) a UK HEI which is working in close partnership with a
    museum or heritage / cultural institution which will co-mentor and support the fellow and their research. Applicants should either i) hold a contract of employment with the institution submitting the proposal that extends beyond the year-long period in which the fellowship will fall or ii) provide a Letter of Support from the eligible organisation submitting the proposal
    confirming that such a contract would be offered in the event of the fellowship proposal being successful.
  • Prospective fellows from the UK can apply to be based at any of the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers and cultural centers. Applicants should discuss their project in advance with relevant Smithsonian unit(s) and will require a Letter of Support and identified mentor. Where
    connections with the Smithsonian are not already existing, applicants should contact NMAHDigital@si.edu at the Smithsonian to facilitate contact with the relevant unit.

All fellows will be expected to submit reports on outputs in accordance with the standard reporting requirements of the AHRC (via Researchfish) and Smithsonian as appropriate. It is also expected that fellows will present their projects at one or more of the workshop events in Washington and London as referenced above (for which travel and subsistence costs will be covered).

Application process

Due to the source of funding, applications for both the AHRC – Smithsonian Digital Scholarship Fellowships (UK-US) and Rutherford Fellowships (US-UK) must be submitted by an eligible UK institution. Where successful, this institution will hold the award and be responsible for its distribution to the fellow(s).
In the case of Rutherford Fellowships, it is expected that the prospective fellow will work closely with the proposed host institution in the UK and relevant Smithsonian museum / center in the completion of the application.
AHRC – Smithsonian Digital Scholarship Fellowship applicants will also be expected to engage the relevant Smithsonian museum / center during the completion of the application. As above, the Smithsonian will be able to facilitate this process where required. Where fellows are based at a UK HEI
but working in close partnership with a museum or heritage / cultural institution, they will be required to engage that institution fully in the application process and articulate how it will provide appropriate mentorship / support over the course of the fellowship.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of The AHRC-Smithsonian Fellowships in Digital Scholarship

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