Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals for Cohort 2

Please note that Digital Borderlands is no longer accepting proposals for Cohort 2. The Call for Proposals period ended on March 4, 2022, and the Cohort 2 projects have been selected. The information below is for reference purposes only.

Award amountUp to $60,000
Duration of grant12 months
Start of grant periodJune 1, 2022, OR September 1, 2022
Number of awards4
Proposal deadlineThe Call for Proposals period is now closed. The deadline was March 4, 2022.
Notification dateThe Call for Proposals period is now closed. Applicants were notified on May 2, 2022.
PI eligibilityFull-time University of Arizona employee with an appointment that extends past the period of the grant.

The University of Arizona Libraries (UAL), through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was pleased to release this call for proposals for data-intensive humanities and humanistic social sciences-based research focused on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands with an emphasis on data storytelling and digital publication. In particular, the Libraries were interested in proposals that work with and/or amplify the voices of underrepresented and marginalized communities. The proposals described how the team will work together with the Libraries and described the library-based services that will be used. See below for the suite of library services available to the grant projects.

The data-intensive research on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is supported through seed grants awarded in two competitive rounds. The call for the second round of funding awarded four grants of up to $60,000 each to UA-based research teams. Teams in the first round have twelve months to complete their research, with the option to begin in June or September 2022.

In November, December, and January UAL hosted mandatory proposal development workshops for potential applicants to receive feedback on their concepts in preparation for the final submission of the proposals. In addition, teams submitted a signed letter of attestation with their proposal that they consulted with the appropriate service unit(s) in UAL. As appropriate, additional documentation may be required to reflect commitments for community-engaged research and plans for conducting human subjects research.

Why are the UA Libraries issuing this call?

Through collaboration with faculty research projects, the Libraries seek to build a sustainable set of library services that:

  1. Establishes new roles for librarians within collaborative research, with an emphasis on services that facilitate data analysis, curation, and dissemination in the humanities
  2. Develops new library services around data storytelling and digital publishing
  3. Positions the library as an essential partner that is fully integrated into faculty research workflows
  4. Supports UAL’s strong commitment to advancing Borderlands research and open access

We believe that these grants will promote UAL services and expertise across a variety of domains with an emphasis on data-focused services that can be fully integrated within the lifecycle of UA faculty research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Funding available 

We made four awards of up to $60,000 to UA-based research teams. Please note that the Call for Proposals period for Cohort 2 projects closed on March 4, 2022.

Eligibility requirements

  • The PI must attend a proposal development workshop before applying.
  • The PI must be a full-time employee at the University of Arizona with an appointment that extends past the end of the grant period.
  • The focus of the research must be on the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands and must sit within the humanities or humanistic social sciences.
  • The proposal must significantly integrate two or more of the suite of library services described below.
  • The projects’ research outputs must be made openly and digitally accessible, with support from UAL.
  • Inclusion of community partners and/or multi-institutional collaborations are encouraged.
  • Inclusion of colleagues based in Mexico as part of the research team is encouraged.
  • Inclusion of graduate students or post docs as part of the research team is encouraged.

Library services

Library services that can be included within the scope of the project are:

  • Working with data and digital resources
    • Digital project planning
    • Digitization consultation
    • Data organization and cleaning
    • Software Carpentry
  • Storytelling with data and digital resources
    • Data visualization
    • GIS
    • Multi-modal digital storytelling
    • Oral history
    • Podcast production
    • Image processing and manipulation
    • Augmented reality/Virtual reality
    • Digital content accessibility and user experience
  • Digital publishing
    • Copyright, fair use, and licensing
    • Rights and reuse of special collections
    • Digital publishing platforms and hosting
    • Jupyter Notebooks
  • Open data and data sharing
    • Curation services
    • Consultation services
    • Data publishing services
  • Engagement with distinctive U.S.-Mexico borderlands collections (To count towards the required use of multiple UAL services, engagement with Special Collections must be planned and implemented in partnership with curators and archivists in Special Collections.)

Budget guidelines

All budgets must abide by University of Arizona policies and the guidelines from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Applicants must include a signature from their departmental business office confirming that the budget has been reviewed and approved internally.

Eligible expenses

  • Personnel
    • Course release for faculty or staff
    • Summer salary or staff compensation
    • Student wages or stipend (Please note that the grant may not be used to fund tuition remission)
  • Services and consultants
    • Web design
    • Coding support
    • Transcription services
    • Translation services
    • Digitization
  • Equipment and software
    • At the end of the grant, any equipment purchased with project funds will come back to UAL for use in our CATalyst Studios or Tech Lending program (Please note that funds may not be used for personal machines)
  • Travel and dissemination
    • Travel to research or collaboration sites
    • Travel to bring collaborators to the University of Arizona
    • Costs associated with travel, conference registration, and related expenses for dissemination
  • Events and meetings
    • Costs associated with holding a research meeting

Ineligible expenses

  • Indirect costs
  • Tuition remission
  • Personal machines or equipment
  • Expenses incurred outside the project performance period

Review criteria

Each proposal was assessed on its own merits. UAL’s final selection of the four awardees considered high-merit proposals in conjunction to balance disciplinary and topical coverage as well as capacity within the libraries to meet the needs of all proposals during the performance period. Proposals were reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Whether they meet the eligibility requirements
    • Digital Humanities research
    • Focused on the U.S. – Mexico Borderlands
    • Integration of library services
    • Data-intensive research
    • Open access and digital storytelling outputs

Intellectual merit:

  • The scholarly and intellectual merit of the proposal
  • The potential to broaden the national and international understanding of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands
  • Soundness and appropriateness of the methodology
  • As applicable, evidence of mutual and reciprocal engagement with underrepresented and marginalized communities
  • As applicable, evidence of demonstrated strategy for responsible conduct of research with indigenous populations and other human subjects

Library integration:

  • The degree of integration of two or more library services into the proposal
  • The potential to advance library services development


  • The feasibility of the proposal including timeline and budget
  • The libraries’ capacity to provide requested services across the full cohort of awardees
  • As appropriate, the project team’s inclusion of supplemental documentation (e.g., initial consultation with the Institutional Review Board and/or plans regarding human subjects research, community agreements, and letters of commitment)
  • Justification for feasibility as documented in the letter of attestation (see below)

Application process


The PI must have attended a workshop hosted by UAL which covered the grant proposal process and expectations for proposals.

Letter of attestation

As you identify the library services that you will use to support your work, you must consult with the staff who will be working with you. The Letter of Attestation asserts that you have consulted with these staff and that they agree that your proposed path forward will be feasible. This will be submitted with your proposal. If you have questions regarding consultation, please contact Project Coordinator Alana Varner with inquiries


The proposal itself included:

  • Proposal abstract (no more than 200 words)
  • A proposal narrative (no more than five pages, single-spaced, 12 pt. font) that addresses:
    • Project rationale
    • Proposed activities
    • Project personnel and brief descriptions of their relevant expertise and experience
    • Proposed outcomes
    • Dissemination plans
    • Project schedule
  • Budget and Budget Justification
    • A detailed budget with justification for all expenses (Please follow the Budget Guidelines above)
    • For projects with partners outside the University of Arizona, please also include a separate budget, budget justification, and a brief statement of work for each partner
  • A data management plan
  • Two-page CVs for all project personnel
  • Letter of support for intellectual merit preferably from a peer at an external institution
  • Letter of attestation 
  • As applicable, letter of commitment from collaborators at external institutions or community partners

Submission process 

All proposal materials should be combined and submitted as a single PDF document by March 4, 2022 via submission form. The project coordinator will review all proposals for completeness and eligibility before passing them on to the review committee.

Anticipated date of notification 

We notified all submitters of the status of their proposal by May 2, 2022, for a June 1 or September 1, 2022 start date.

Reporting requirements

Awardees will be required to provide a brief interim report halfway through the project and a final report due within 90 days of project completion. The project coordinator will also arrange monthly meetings throughout the performance period, and the project team may request that awardees present their work to stakeholders, including members of the libraries and prospective applicants for the second round of funding.

Please see our list of frequently asked questions for more information about this call.