The Trans-Atlantic Platform launches fourth Digging into Data Challenge

Date: 11/03/2016

The Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) has launched a groundbreaking pilot programme: the T-AP Digging into Data Challenge. Formed on the basis of previous successful collaborations, the Challenge is aimed at supporting projects that address social science and/or humanities research questions through the development and innovative application of tools and methods for capturing and analysing “big data”.

The T-AP, an EU-funded Platform encouraging and facilitating increased cooperation between funding agencies in Europe and the Americas, has enabled the Digging into Data Challenge to be expanded in terms of the number of funders (from ten to 16), the number of countries (from four to 11), and indeed the overall ambition. Whilst the core goal of Digging into Data remains the same – to help create the new research infrastructure for 21st-century scholarship –an increasingly digital and interconnected world presents new challenges of scale that require specific attention in order to unlock their research potential.

“This means many more teams will be able to compete. The Challenge will be open to more researchers, including new partners from Europe and North America and, for the first time, partners from South America. This expanded challenge will allow social sciences and humanities researchers on three continents to potentially work together in the area of digital scholarship and help foster new approaches to research in this exciting and rapidly evolving field,” said Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and co-chair of T-AP’s Steering Committee.

Examples of previous winners of the Digging into Data Challenges include:

  • Trees & Tweets: developing tools to analyse big data from family trees and tweets to understand patterns of large-scale migration and language variation in the UK and the US
  • IMPACT: establishing an online, web-assessable, computerised database of radiological studies of ancient Egyptian mummies
  • DiLiPaD: developing tools to compare, visualize and analyze the extensive court records of more than 197,000 individual trials held over 240 years at the Old Bailey criminal court in London, England

This exciting opportunity is open to international projects comprised of teams from at least three participating countries seeking to address any social science/humanities research question by using large-scale, digital data analysis techniques, and show how these techniques can lead to new insights.

The deadline for final applications is June 29, 2016. Learn more about the competition and the application process at

Notes for Editors

  1. The Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) is an unprecedented collaboration between key humanities and social science funders and facilitators from South America, North America and Europe. T-AP aims to enhance the ability of funders, research organizations and researchers to engage in transnational dialogue and collaboration. Among other activities, it works to identify common challenges and emerging priorities in social science and humanities research. T-AP also facilitates the formation of networks within the social sciences and humanities and helps connect them with other disciplines.
  2. The Digging into Data Challenge has been funding cutting-edge digital research in the humanities and social sciences since 2009. Now under the auspices of T-AP, the program will support collaborative research teams from three continents: Europe (Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal (to be confirmed) and the United Kingdom); North America (Canada, Mexico, the United States); and South America (Brazil and Argentina). Follow @DiggingIntoData on Twitter for news and announcements.
  3. The 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 £98 million 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.
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