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Digging into Data

Date: 16/01/2014

Ten international research funders from four countries jointly announced the winners of the third Digging into Data Challenge, a competition to develop new insights, tools and skills in innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis. A total of fourteen projects have been funded of which nine involve UK investigators.

Fourteen teams representing Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States will receive grants to investigate how computational techniques can be applied to “big data”; changing the nature of humanities and social sciences research. Each team represents collaborations among scholars, scientists, and information professionals from leading universities and libraries in Europe and North America.

The projects with UK collaborators cover a wide variety of topics:

  • Automating Data Extraction from Chinese Texts Principal Investigators: Peter K. Bol, Harvard University, US; Hilde De Weerdt, King's College London, UK
  • Commonplace Cultures: Mining Shared Passages in the 18th Century using Sequence Alignment and Visual Analytics Principal Investigators: Robert Morrissey, University of Chicago, US; Min Chen, University of Oxford; UK
  • Digging Archaeology Data: Image Search and Markup (DADAISM) Principal Investigators: Maarten de Rijke, University of Amsterdam, NL; Helen Petrie, University of York, UK; Mark Eramian, University of Saskatchewan, CAN
  • Digging into Linked Parliamentary Data Principal Investigators: Maarten Marx, University of Amsterdam, NL; Jane Winters, University of London, UK; Christopher Cochrane, University of Toronto Scarborough, CAN
  • Digging into signs: Developing standard annotation practices for cross-linguistic quantitative analysis of sign language data Principal Investigators: Onno Crasborn, Radboud University Nijmegen, NL; Kearsy Cormier, University College London, UK
  • Mining Biodiversity  Principal Investigators: William Ulate Rodriguez, Missouri Botanical Garden, US; Sophia Ananiadou, University of Manchester, UK; Anatoliy Gruzd, Dalhousie University, CAN
  • MIning Relationships Among variables in large datasets from CompLEx systems (MIRACLE) Principal Investigators: C. Michael Barton, Arizona State University, US; Tatiana Filatova, University of Twente, NL; Terence P. Dawson, University of Dundee, UK; Dawn Cassandra Parker, University of Waterloo, CAN
  • Resurrecting Early Christian Lives: Digging in Papyri in a Digital Age Principal Investigators: Philip Sellew, University of Minnesota, US; Dirk Obbink, Oxford University, UK
  • Trees and Tweets: Mining Billions to Understand Human Migration and Regional Linguistic Variation Principal Investigators: Diansheng Guo, University of South Carolina, US; Jack Grieve, Aston University, UK

With a total of ten international funders the UK funding bodies include the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council will additional professional programme management support provide to the UK projects by Jisc.

Samantha McGregor, Senior Policy Manager at the Economic and Social Research Council comments “The ESRC has now participated in two rounds of Digging into Data, a programme which demonstrates brilliantly the added value that can be gained through international cooperation both for the projects themselves and the research funders. Looking to the future, we hope to continue working together with Digging into Data partners to address the challenges of ‘big data’.”

Pam Mason Head of Creative and Performing Arts; “The Digging into Data Scheme is not only developing important new insights and tools to better understand large scale data but supports the development new research skills and international knowledge exchange. Having ten international funders working together to solve the challenge of the changing nature of humanities and social science research through such a large scheme is a real success story.”

Notes to Editors

  • The sponsoring funding bodies include the Arts and 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 providing professional programme management in the progression of the United Kingdom projects.
  • Total project funding is approximately $5.1 million (U.S.) dollars.
  • The full list of awards and additional information about the competition can be found at www.diggingintodata.org
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC): he Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.  www.ahrc.ac.uk
  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI): Created by the Government of Canada in 1997, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) strives to build our nation’s capacity to undertake world-class research and technology development to benefit Canadians. Thanks to CFI investment in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions are attracting and retaining the world’s top talent, training the next generation of researchers, supporting private-sector innovation and creating high-quality jobs that strengthen Canada’s position in today’s knowledge economy.
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2011/12 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at www.esrc.ac.uk
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov  and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Jisc offers digital services for UK education and research. The charity does this to achieve its vision for the UK to be the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world. Working together across the higher education, further education and skills sectors, Jisc provides trusted advice and support, reduces sector costs across shared network, digital content, IT services and procurement negotiations, ensuring the sector stays ahead of the game with research and development for the future. Find out more at www.jisc.ac.uk  or contact the press team on press@jisc.ac.uk.
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available on the Internet at www.neh.gov.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, its budget is $9.5 billion, which includes $3.0 billion provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,900 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 44,400 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly. More information about NSF is available on the Internet at www.nsf.gov.
  • The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) funds thousands of top researchers at universities and institutes and steers the course of Dutch science by means of subsidies and research programmes.
  • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). NSERC aims to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports university students in their advanced studies, promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects. NSERC researchers are on the vanguard of science, building on Canada’s long tradition of scientific excellence.
  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is the Canadian federal agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs, SSHRC works to develop talented leaders for all sectors of society, helps generate insights about people, ideas and behaviour and builds connections within and beyond academia that will build a better future for Canada and the world and help build understanding and knowledge to better equip Canadians make informed decisions about their future and long-term prosperity. For more information, visit www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca
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