Canada Foundation for Innovation commits infrastructure funding to Digging into Data Challenge

Competition closes May 15, 2013
February 5, 2013

What does “big data” mean for researchers in the humanities and social sciences? Today, 10 international research funders are jointly announcing their participation in round three of the Digging into Data Challenge, a grant competition designed to spur computationally intensive research in the humanities and social sciences.

During the first two rounds of the Challenge, held in 2009 and 2011, nearly 150 teams, representing universities from across Canada, the Netherlands, the United States and the UK, competed to demonstrate how innovative research methods can be used to analyze digital books, survey data, economic data, newspapers, music, and other scholarly, scientific and cultural heritage resources that are now being digitized on a huge scale.

The first two rounds of the Challenge sparked enormous interest from the international research community and the media. In 2012, a major report was issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library and Information Resources, noting that “the Digging into Data Challenge investigators have demarcated a new era — one with the promise of revelatory explorations of our cultural heritage that will lead us to new insights and knowledge, and to a more nuanced and expansive understanding of the human condition.”

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the earlier rounds, the Digging into Data Challenge is pleased to announce that two additional funders have joined for round three, enabling this competition to have a world-wide reach into many different scholarly and scientific domains. The sponsoring funding bodies include the Arts & Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom), the Economic and Social Research Council (United Kingdom), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (Canada), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (United States), the National Endowment for the Humanities (United States), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada), the National Science Foundation (United States), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in collaboration with The Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC) (Netherlands), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada). Jisc (United Kingdom) will be taking a supportive role by facilitating the progression of the project.

Final applications will be due May 15, 2013. Further information about the competition and the application process can be found at