DHI Grant Writing Service

The Digital Humanities Institute (DHI) in the Faculty of Arts is able to provide a grant writing service for all applicants who are submitting bids to AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme and other funders in which there is a Digital Humanities component (see: What is a Digital Humanities project?).

The DHI has considerable experience of grant writing: over 100 funded projects over 25 years. It is a service which has been used by Principal Investigators at over 40 universities in the UK for projects ranging from £10k to £1m.

There is no fee for this service. As a technical partner on your funding application the DHI’s time will be included in your budget, so it is in our interests that you submit the best application possible. From experience we have a clear idea of what a good application looks like, and how to create one.

What is the service?

This is not an advisory service, although we can give you plenty of advice. This is a hands-on writing service done in full consultation with you, to save you time, and to produce a bid which has the strongest chance of being funded.

For example, here is a breakdown of the work required for an AHRC Research Grant:

  • Case for Support. It is typically a maximum seven pages of narrative. We can help you to write a good Aim, Research Questions and Research Context  (typically pages 1-3). But we can actually draft pages 4-7 for you to review and revise (Methodology, Project Management, Dissemination etc).
  • Data Management Plan. We can write this for you.
  • Gantt Chart / Work Plan. We can write this for you.
  • Pathways to Impact. We can help you write this. Most colleagues don’t realise that this document has a straightforward structure to guide the writing.
  • Costings. The Faculty’s Research Support Officers can help you with this.
  • Justification of Resources. We can write this for you.
  • Je-S Application Form. We can write this for you.
  • External Partners. The DHI has collaborated with over 50 non-academic partners in its time. We can approach new organisations if you have never worked with them before, and organise letters of support if needed.

In summary, for a typical AHRC grant, you need to write three pages of a Case for Support and two pages of a Pathways to Impact, irrespective of whether you are asking for £50k or £1m. We can draft the rest for you.

Drafts of all of the above are produced for you to approve and revise. For example, when writing the Methodology section in the Case for Support we will talk through with you what your methods are (typically a combination of digital and non-digital), prepare a draft text for this section, and then hand it back to you for further refinement.

Of course, if you want to do all the writing yourself and you just need a critical friend to review your drafts, we can do that as well.

This might seem an unusual hands-on approach for a technical partner, but 25 years and over 100 projects later, we know that this approach works.

How do I access the service?

The DHI’s hands-on approach means that the earlier you can contact us, the better. For example, you might have a research project in mind but you are not sure how digital methods might enhance it. This is the perfect time to discuss your idea with us so that we help you shape it.

We will be honest! Sometimes a Digital Humanities approach is not always appropriate, in which case we will flag this up. We are not interested in turning every research project into a Digital Humanities project. It isn’t in our interests to spend time on a grant application which does not warrant digital methods and therefore might not be funded.

You can access the DHI’s grant writing service directly by contacting Michael Pidd m.pidd@sheffield.ac.uk.

You can find out more about what constitutes a Digital Humanities project here.

There is also lots of helpful information about grant writing, including tips, on the Faculty’s Research Portal.