The ESRC, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and 14 other international research funders, as part of the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities (T-AP), are pleased to announce 14 new collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects that investigate research questions in the humanities and social sciences using large-scale computational techniques. These teams will be pursuing research in a number of areas, including musicology, economics, linguistics, political science, and history.

Each of the winning teams is composed of researchers from multiple scholarly and scientific disciplines, working collaboratively to demonstrate how cutting-edge big data techniques can be used to investigate a wide range of research questions across the humanities and social sciences.

Speaking on behalf of the T-AP Digging into Data Funders, Brett Bobley, Chief Information Officer of the National Endowment for Humanities in the USA, said: "I'm very excited to be announcing these 14 projects today. This is the fourth Digging into Data Challenge and the first sponsored by the Trans-Atlantic Platform which has created a new excitement for the programme which was evident from the level of engagement from researchers and support from each of the international funding partners. It was a highly competitive round. We very much look forward to seeing the findings and long-lasting relationships built through this international collaboration."

Speaking on behalf of the ESRC, Professor Tony McEnery, Director of Research, said: "New collaborations and new techniques can inspire new thinking and approaches, which is why I am so pleased that the UK, through the ESRC and the AHRC, are supporting programmes such as the T-AP Digging into Data Challenge. The researchers involved in these exciting new projects will not only be part of multinational collaborations but they will also be using cutting-edge large-scale, digital data analysis techniques, and show how these techniques can provide fresh insights to help meet the challenges and opportunities facing us today."

Projects with UK participation are: 

  • Analysing child language experiences around the world (ACLEW)
    UK principal investigator - Professor Björn Schuller, Imperial College London
    Partner principal investigators - Dr Elika Bergelson (Duke University, USA); Professor Emmanuel Dupoux (École Normale Supérieure, France); Dr Okko Räsänen (Aalto University, Finland); Professor Celia Rosemberg (CONICET, Argentina); Dr Melanie Soderstrom (University of Manitoba, Canada) 
  • Digging into early colonial Mexico
    UK principal investigator - Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores, University of Chester
    Partner principal investigators - Dr Diego Jiménez-Badillo (Museo del Templo Mayor, INAH, Mexico); Dr Bruno Emanuel da Graça Martins (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
  • Digging into high frequency data: Present and future risks and opportunities
    UK principal investigator - Dr Jean-Pierre Zigrand, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Partner principal investigators - Dr Patrice Fontaine (EUROFIDAI, France); Professor Loriana Pelizzon (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany); Dr Peter Sarlin (Hanken School of Economics, Finland); Professor Mila Getmansky Sherman (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA)
  • Dig that lick: Analysing large-scale data for melodic patterns in jazz performances
    UK principal investigator - Dr Simon Dixon, Queen Mary University of London
    Partner principal investigators - Dr Hélène Papadopoulos (National Center for Scientific Research, France); Professor Martin Pfleiderer (University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar, Germany); Professor Gabriel Solis (University of Illinois, USA)
  • Mapping manuscript migrations: Digging into data for the history and provenance of pre-modern European manuscripts
    UK principal investigator - Dr Toby Burrows, University of Oxford
    Partner principal investigator - Professor Eero Hyvönen (Aalto University, Finland); Dr Lynn Ransom (University of Pennsylvania, USA); Dr Hanno Wijsman (Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, France) 
  • Speech across dialects of English (SPADE): Large-scale digital analysis of a spoken language across space and time
    UK principal investigator - Professor Jane Stuart-Smith, University of Glasgow
    Partner principal investigators - Dr Jeffrey Mielke (North Carolina State University, USA); Dr Morgan Sonderegger (McGill University, Canada)
  • Oceanic exchanges: Tracing global information networks in historical newspaper repositories, 1840-1914 (OcEx)
    UK principal investigator - Dr Ulrich Tiedau, University College of London
    Partner principal investigators - Dr Ryan Cordell (Northeastern University, USA); Dr Mark Priewe (Universitaet Stuttgart, Germany); Dr Isabela Galina Russell (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico); Professor Hannu Salmi (University of Turku, Finland); Dr Jaap Verheul (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)

Since its inception in 2009, the Digging into Data Challenge programme has helped to spark exciting new research avenues for the humanities and social sciences utilising computational techniques. 

The T-AP Digging into Data Challenge is sponsored by research funding organisations from 11 nations in the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities (T-AP). 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 organisations and researchers to engage in transnational dialogue and collaboration.

Participating nations and funding organisations include:  Argentina (MINCyT); Brazil (FAPESP); Canada (SSHRC, NSERC, FRQ); Finland (AKA); France (ANR); Germany (DFG); Mexico (CONACYT); Netherlands (NWO); Portugal (FCT); UK (AHRC, ESRC), and US (NEH, NSF, IMLS).

ESRC and AHRC are jointly awarding £1 million to the scheme. The total funding from all research funders exceeds £7 million.