Digital Lab at Heard Libraries seeks faculty projects to fund in 2024; application deadline extended to April 5

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries’ Digital Lab is in search of nascent digital projects to sponsor during the spring and summer of 2024. Vanderbilt faculty members who have projects or project ideas requiring digital technology, or who are looking to develop a proof of concept to attract larger funding opportunities, are encouraged to apply. Projects should be culturally important, globally impactful and preservable in perpetuity.  

The Digital Lab will be funding four projects, providing grants of up to $4,000 each that can be applied toward costs such as: 

  • proof of concept, 
  • student support, 
  • project evaluation, 
  • term-limited consultants or skilled workers, 
  • technology or software licenses and products, or 
  • professional development workshops and training directly related to a digital project. 

Selected projects must provide a report on how the funds are used. A showcase celebrating the projects will take place in fall 2024. Funded projects should expect to have at least one representative available to present at the showcase. The criteria used to evaluate project proposals are listed below. 

Digital Technologies/Innovation 

Approved funds will be allocated to projects that have a digital focus. This can include technologies, skills and innovative techniques in realms such as artificial intelligence, archiving and preservation, digital collections and exhibits, digital storytelling, 3D scanning and printing, augmented/virtual reality, digital media literacy and more.  

Interdisciplinary Work 

The program also intends to enhance collaboration and support interdisciplinary projects. The grants are an opportunity to promote inclusivity and diversity within technology and digital spaces. Bringing forth ideas that connect various academic backgrounds and skill sets is invaluable in this endeavor. 

Sustainability and Longevity 

Projects should also show the potential to be preserved in perpetuity. Applicants are encouraged to detail how the projects will be preserved and sustained so that others may look to the work, build from it or, at the minimum, be able to access it for studying or sharing purposes.  

Future Funding Opportunities 

The goal is that these seed grants lead to opportunities for external funding. To this end, an important criterion for applicants is existing or future opportunities to apply for external funds. The Digital Lab is available to think through ways that projects could grow and can provide support in developing grant applications and administering future funding.  

How to Apply 

Applicants should submit a proposal of 500 words maximum that addresses the following: 

  • How does the project advance digital scholarship or innovation? 
  • What specific digital tools or skills will be required, learned or developed from this project? 
  • What are the challenges and constraints involved? 
  • How is the project interdisciplinary and collaborative? 
  • What (if any) future funding opportunities do you foresee for this project? 
  • How will you and other participants document and reflect on your experiences? 
  • How will the products of this project be preserved and/or disseminated? 
  • What other resources might you need to accomplish your goals? 

In addition to the 500-word proposal, applicants should provide a detailed budget, deliverables timeline, and proposed completion date. 

Application Timeline 

  • Submission deadline: Friday, April 5, 2024 
  • Notification of awards: Monday, April 29, 2024 
  • Work conducted deadline: Friday, Aug. 2, 2024 

Apply now. 

Help with Application 

Interested applicants who have an idea they would like to brainstorm and workshop with our staff can either reach out through email at to schedule a consultation or drop by the Digital Lab space on the fourth floor of Central Library between Monday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 2 p.m.  

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