Immersive Scholar: Call For Proposals

Brief Project Description

NC State University, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, invites proposals from institutions interested in participating in a new project for Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces. The grant aims to 1) build a community of practice of scholars and librarians who work in large-scale multimedia to help visually immersive scholarly work enter the research lifecycle; and 2) overcome technical and resource barriers that limit the number of scholars and libraries who may produce digital scholarship for visualization environments and the impact of generated knowledge. Libraries and museums have made significant strides in pioneering the use of large-scale visualization technologies for research and learning. However, the utilization, scale, and impact of visualization environments and the scholarship created within them have not reached their fullest potential. A logical next step in the provision of technology-rich, visual academic spaces is to develop best practices and collaborative frameworks that can benefit individual institutions by building economies of scale among collaborators.

The project contains four major elements:

  • An initial meeting and priority setting workshop that brings together librarians, scholars, and technologists working in large-scale and immersive visualization environments.
  • Scholars-in-residence at NC State over a multi-year period who pursue open source creative projects, working in collaboration with our librarians and faculty, with the potential to address the articulated limitations.
  • Funding for modest, competitive block grants to other institutions working on similar challenges for creating, disseminating, validating, and preserving digital scholarship created in and for large-scale visual environments.
  • A culminating symposium that brings together representatives from the scholars-in-residence and block grant recipient institutions to share and assess results, organize ways of preserving and disseminating digital products produced, and build on the methods, templates, and tools developed for future projects.

Call for Proposals

This call solicits proposals for block grants from libraries, museums, or other academic or research institutions that have visualization installations. Block grant recipients can utilize funds for ideas ranging from creating open source scholarly content for visualization environments to developing tools and templates to enhance sharing of visualization work. An advisory panel will select four institutions to receive awards of up to $40,000. Block grant recipients will also participate in the initial priority setting workshop and the culminating symposium. Participating in a block grant proposal does not disqualify an individual from later applying for one of the grant-supported scholar-in-residence appointments.

Applicants will provide a statement of work that describes the contributions that their organization will make toward the goals of the grant. Applicants will also provide a budget and budget justification.

Activities that can be funded through block grants include, but are not limited to:

  • Commissioning work by a visualization expert
  • Hosting a visiting scholar, artist, or technologist residency
  • Software development or adaptation
  • Development of templates and methodologies for sharing and scaling content utilizing open source software
  • Student or staff labor for content or software development or adaptation
  • Curricula and reusable learning objects for digital scholarship and visualization courses
  • User research on universal design for visualization spaces

Purchases of equipment and/or other capital expenditures costing $5k or more are not allowed for any grant participant. Also, indirect costs are not allowed per the terms of the grant.

Application

Send an application to immersivescholar@ncsu.edu by 11:59pm (for your time zone) on 13 August 2017 that includes the following:

  • Statement of work (no more than 1000 words) of the project idea your organization plans to develop, its relationship to the overall goals of the grant, and the challenges to be addressed.
  • List the names and contact information for each of the participants in the funded project, including a brief description of their current role, background, expertise, interests, and what they can contribute.
  • Project timeline.
  • Budget table with projected expenditures.
  • Budget narrative detailing the proposed expenditures.

Reminder: the deadline for receipt of proposals is 11:59pm (for your time zone) on 13 August 2017.

Selection and Notification Process

An advisory panel made up of scholars, librarians, and technologists with experience and expertise in large-scale visualization and/or visual scholarship will review and rank proposals. Awardees will be selected based on:

  • the ability of their proposal to successfully address one or both of the identified problems;
  • the creativity of the proposed activities;
  • relevant demonstrated experience partnering with scholars or students on visualization projects;
  • whether the proposal is extensible;
  • feasibility of the work within the proposed time-frame and budget;
  • whether the project work improves or expands access to large-scale visual environments for users; and
  • the participant’s ability to expand content development and sharing among the network of institutions with large-scale visual environments.

The project leaders are especially keen to receive proposals that develop best practices and collaborative frameworks that can benefit individual institutions by building a community of practice and economies of scale among collaborators. Awardees will be required to send a representative to an initial meeting of the project cohort in Fall 2017.

Awardees will be notified by 15 September 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact immersivescholar@ncsu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply if I am not affiliated with a library or museum?

Yes.

We don't have a visualization space but are planning to build one. Can I apply?

Yes. However, keep in mind that your proposal must still address the project's problem statement and demonstrate that your proposed project can create value for those with existing facilities.

Our university is not in the United States. Are we eligible?

Yes. However, keep in mind that you may have to cover some or all of your travel costs to attend the two grant-related workshops

Can the block grants be used for indirect costs?

No.

What about facilities for head-mounted virtual and augmented reality?

Proposals that focus on VR/AR facilities are acceptable.

It looks like the grant started in May, did we miss the deadline?

No. While grant activities began in May for NC State, the participating institutions will not be decided until September 15.

How long will the grant last?

Grant activities will conclude in spring of 2020. Please reference section 3.9 of the full proposal for a more complete project timeline.

When is the first workshop for the selected institutions?

Tentatively December 4 and 5, 2017 at the Hunt Library in Raleigh, NC.

Can the software be used to purchase software?

Yes, and it’s allowable expense as long as cost of software is not $5k or more. The $5k threshold makes it a capital expenditure, which is not allowed.

Is travel an allowable expenditure? For example, to attend our workshop or to bring and host a visiting artist?

Yes.