Writing grants

Grant applications

If you are considering writing an application for a grant or other source of funding, and if your project incorporates digitizing, computing, audio or video technologies, we may be able to help you in a number of ways.

  • estimate costs of equipment and labour

  • provide resources or services as a contribution in kind or chargeable service

  • help you plan a project in support of a grant proposal

Typically your project will be expected to provide a small amount of money to pay for the ongoing costs of maintaining and supporting the bookable computers space. To maximize our ability to accommodate your request fully, please provide as much advance notice as possible (i.e. not the day before your grant application is due!).

Estimate costs of equipment and labour

Many granting agencies require detailed estimates of costs for technology and technology-related work. We have years of experience in preparing estimates for the costs of equipment, data preparation and coding for projects ranging in budget (from the low thousands to the low millions), and ranging in span (from ten weeks to seven years) for a number of funding agencies.

We can help you estimate the details for everything from computers and hardware peripherals, through application programs and network services, to data preparation (digitization, text-entry, markup) and coding in any number of development environments.

We would be more than happy to sit down with you, discuss what would be suitable for your project and then provide you with an appropriately detailed breakdown of costs. We will complete a project proposal document with you. Most likely a 2-page project proposal, but if your project is small enough it may be an informal email, blog posting or other document. Please contact us, and we'll set up a time to meet.

Provide HCMC labour or resources

If your grant proposal includes resources from us, you must obtain permission from us (and likely the Digital Humanities committee) before you can commit our resources in your proposal. We will work with you to estimate the costs for labour, space, equipment or other resources to be provided by us, and then what fraction of that total is to be provided as an in-kind contribution by the university through us and what fraction is to be provided in exchange for financial compensation from the project. If you are interested in this for your proposed project, contact us, and we will discuss your situation with you, and possibly present it for consideration by the Digital Humanities committee.

Project plan

The scale and scope of the project plan will vary with the specific circumstances of the project. For small projects, the project proposal document may act as the project plan as well. The role of this document is to act as the common reference for all participants (and external interested parties such as colleagues, auditors or grant committees). The level of detail has to be such that all participants can see what needs to be done, who is doing it, and what counts as successful completion of each component and ultimately of the whole project. If you are writing a grant proposal, then much of the information needed will be in that proposal.

Each project has different requirements for additional planning documentation. You will work in collaboration with one of our developers on any planning documents needed in addition to the project proposal, whether it be a full project plan or more details on one element of the project proposal (e.g. schedule for research assistants).

We are involved in a number of projects at any time. Therefore, we have to consider not only a given specific proposal, but the overall work flow of our office. For example, to solve a problem in your project, we may need to write some code, but we may wish to ensure that such code is written in a way that it is easily reused or repurposed for another project.


  • The project has clear objectives, research questions to be answered, or deliverables required.
  • The objectives are worthwhile, realistic and practical.
  • The project arises out of a specific, substantial research, teaching or administrative need in the Humanities faculty.

Scope and Benefits:

  • The project has specific benefits for one or more audiences (area of content research, area of technological research, HCMC staff professional development, administrative)
  • The project extends current technologies, practices and expertise of HCMC staff or warrants learning new technologies or practices.
  • A list of any features which are not part of the project but which might be mistakenly believed to be part of the project

Participants and commitment:

  • The project plan lists the various tasks that are required to complete the project, and what individual or kind of person will be doing each task.
  • The project plan states the intellectual property, distribution and commercialization rights, obligations and constraints for all interested parties.
  • The project plan specifies clearly any required reporting of information amongst participants or for an outside audience: what exactly needs to be reported, by whom, to whom, when and for what purpose.
  • The proposing instructor or researcher is prepared to commit an amount of his/her time appropriate to completing the task, where "appropriate" is determined in collaboration with the HCMC, based on the project plan.
  • The proposing instructor or researcher is willing and able to learn or improve skills he/she will need in order to carry out project work, or manage the work of subordinates, as described in the project plan.


  • The project plan states the hardware, software, networking and other technologies anticipated for developing, implementing and maintaining the project.
  • Wherever possible, the project uses existing hardware, software and infrastructure within the university. Where this is not possible, the technology required for the project is available and affordable to buy, implement and maintain.
  • Wherever possible, the project uses current, non-proprietary, standards-compliant technologies (for development environments, data encoding, data storage, data retrieval, presentation to users, etc.). Where this is not possible, the plan provides justifications for the use of proprietary, non-standard or otherwise limiting technologies.

Costs, Funding and Resources:

  • The project plan specifies clearly the sources for any funding required. If funding is not assured, then the plan includes a reasoned estimate of the chances of acquiring that funding and descriptions of what to do if the funding is not obtained.
  • The project plan specifies how funds or other resources are to be allocated, including estimates of costs of HCMC staff time and of transfers of money from the project to the HCMC to cover staff time or towards the maintenance of the shared research computers.
  • The project plan states clearly any reporting, spending or other requirements or constraints imposed by funding or other external agencies, such as contractors, UVic Purchasing or UVic Aaccounting.

Deliverables and Milestones:

  • The project plan contains a sound timeline with achievement milestones, and procedures for reporting on progress and dealing with failure to meet milestones.
  • The project has a clearly-defined end point, at which it can be designated "finished" and removed from the HCMC task list.
  • There are definite plans for the long-term housing and maintenance of the project materials (by someone specific, using specific resources) after the project is finished.
  • The project can be realistically expected to reach its end within two years. If the project length is longer than this, it should be refactored into smaller subprojects, each of which can be finished in reasonable time-periods, and will be worth doing in themselves even if the long-term objectives are abandoned.

Constraints and Risks:

  • A list of all factors which may be reasonably expected to affect the project and which have not already been covered.

Criteria for Cessation of Project:

  • There are clear criteria under which a project can be said to have failed or simply faded away, such as: failure to obtain funding, failure to obtain suitable data, lack of faculty member involvement, insufficient or incompetent work produced by non-HCMC project members. All parties understand that when these circumstances arise, the HCMC will stop work on the project, after which restarting it becomes a case of a new project, to be evaluated from scratch again.