In January 2014, ten international research funders from four countries jointly announced the winners of the third Digging into Data Challenge.

Fourteen winning teams representing Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States received grants to investigate how computational techniques can be applied to “big data”, which will change 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.

Within Phase 3 there are nine UK led projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK and programme managed by Jisc. This blog has been set up to communicate progress and highlights from these nine projects.

Details on projects funded under phases 1 and 2 are available on the main Digging into Data Challenge website and the Jisc programme page.

ESRC – Samantha McGregor
AHRC – Laura Bones and Christie Walker
Jisc – Catherine Grout (Programme Director) and Christopher Brown (Programme Manager)



Jisc offers digital services and solutions 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.



The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. They support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. Their total budget for 2013/14 was £212 million. At any one time they support over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

The ESRC is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) established by Royal Charter in 1965 and receives most of their funding through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Their research is vigorous and authoritative, as they support independent, high-quality, relevant social science.

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The AHRC is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, along with the other UK Research Councils. The AHRC is governed by its Council, which is responsible for its overall strategic direction, and is incorporated by Royal Charter.

AHRC is unique in the world as a national funding agency supporting both arts and humanities research. They use public funding of approximately £98m per annum to fund research among one quarter of the United Kingdom’s research population.

Each year they provide some 700 research awards, 2,000 postgraduate scholarships, and numerous knowledge transfer awards.

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