What is a PDIG, & Why Should I Apply?

Provost’s Digital Innovation Grants (PDIGs) are an excellent way to fund your work. Each year with generous support from the Provost’s Office, GC Digital Initiatives offers grants to PhD students in order to bolster their use of emerging technologies in the pursuit of their academic research goals. But what are these awards really for? Who wins them? What kinds of work do they support?

We don’t need to tell you that finding the time, space, and financial resources to support your work can be challenging. But when you’re able to capitalize on opportunities like small awards to support your research, those can–and often do–lead to more support and funding. It’s worth exploring all the available opportunities to finance your scholarship, and this post is designed to help you figure out whether or not the Provost’s Digital Innovation Grants could help you.

The first thing to do is to read the call for proposals because the key to writing a good application is always making sure that you know exactly what the award is for and that you follow all of the requirements for the application. The bottom of the CFP includes a checklist of things to consider when submitting your proposal.

There are 3 categories of PDIG this year: travel, start up, and implementation. In other words, there’s something for everyone. You can begin finding funding as early as your first year by applying to support travel and tuition to attend a workshop, short course, boot camp, or other form of training that will help you explore methods or areas of study related to technology, scholarly communication, and digital culture. Some examples of possible training opportunities include going to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria in June. Other students have taken the opportunity to pay for travel to the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School or the Humanities Intensive Teaching and Learning Workshops (HILT). Funds could also be used to cover the costs associated with a pre-conference workshop on emerging technologies and methodologies in your discipline. For example, scholarly societies such as the American Historical Association (ASA) offer pre-conference workshops. You may also consider workshops associated with the DH 2018 conference in Mexico City. You can learn a little about the way that students in previous years have used their funding by looking at Digital Fellow Kelsey Chatlosh’s most recent blog post on Tagging the Tower about her experience.

To help you think about the types of training opportunities that might be available to you, the GC Digital Fellows will be hosting a conversation about workshops, boot camps, and other digital method learning opportunities during this week’s Thursday Skill Share on October 12th from 12:00 – 1:30 PM in the Digital Scholarship Lab, room 7414.

What if you have a research project in mind already, but you need time, resources, and maybe some advice or help in order to bring your project into fruition? The PDIG Start Up Grant category is designed to help you start and build scholarly projects that make use of emerging technologies, evolving forms of scholarly communication, or produce scholarship in new and often unconventional ways. Previous awards can be found in the list of previously funded PDIG grants on our website. Grants are awarded to support a wide range of academic disciplines. For example, some projects have supported hiring research assistants to help with the scraping and preparing of data for the development of a new and highly sought after dataset. Other projects have created new platforms for teaching linguistics or the recording of sounds in nature surrounding a significant landmark in American literature or new methods of conducting qualitative research that combines methods from humanities and social science.

If you have a project idea but are unsure how to bring it to fruition, we invite you to come ask questions. The GC Digital Fellows, who have rich and varied experience putting together digital projects and proposals, are available to meet every Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. You can also email Lisa Rhody directly to set up an appointment to ask questions about your proposal.

Finally, some projects which have already received some start up funding or that have moved beyond their earliest stages require funding that will help the project grow and become sustainable for future grants. These are projects where a proof of concept has already been created and where additional funds are necessary in order to extend the project’s use and impact. Examples of Implementation Grant funding include Wallace and Spatializing / Sonifying Kissinger: New Perspectives in Space and Sound.

Have a project that is part research and part teaching? Consider also applying for grants through the Teaching and Learning Center.

If you have questions about whether or not to submit a proposal, how to write a budget, or what kind of funding you might qualify for, the best thing to do is ask. Don’t let an opportunity to expand and improve your work pass you by. Come talk to one of the GC Digital Fellows during office hours or send an email to Lisa Rhody (lrhody -at- gc.cuny.edu) if you have questions.

One thing is certain, though–the only way to win a grant is to apply. The deadline for this year’s PDIGs is 5 pm Friday, October 20, 2017.


  1. In Common This Week: The Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant – In Common - October 11, 2017

    […] the CUNY Graduate Center, but taking a look at the Call for Applications, this persuasive post on why you should apply from the GC’s Digital Fellows, and the projects produced by some of last year’s winners […]

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