Living with Machines open call for digital residencies

Closing date


Living with Machines is a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via the Strategic Priorities Fund. The project proposes a new research paradigm – a radical collaboration between historians, data scientists, geographers, computational linguists, and curators – to harness the growth of digitised archives, and model the effects of mechanisation on ordinary people at the dawn of the modern era. The project, which began in late 2018, uses computational techniques and very large datasets in order to ask questions about the ways in which technology altered the very fabric of human existence on a hitherto unprecedented scale. The project exploits existing corpora of digitised sources (including newspapers, census data, maps, books and journals), as well as digitising its own materials (including newspaper press directories, and further maps and newspapers). By developing intuitive computational approaches and a philosophy of interdisciplinary collaboration the team have developed both a data-driven approach to history, and a human-driven approach to data science.

Living with Machines is carried out in partnership between The Alan Turing Institute, the British Library, and the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Exeter and London (Queen Mary University, and King’s College).


The Living with Machines project is offering up to 6 digital residencies to work with some of the data sets and tools that we have created on the project.

These grants are part of our initiative to support engagement with data-driven humanities research, building a larger research community.

Applicants should propose to work with one of the following data sets or tools developed on the Living with Machines project: 

We invite people to design projects using these datasets or tools, including, but not limited to: new research applications, data visualisations, or the development of tutorials for delivery and publication. If you’re not sure if your idea would be a good fit, please check this blogpost by the Living with Machines Principal Investigator, Professor Ruth Ahnert, for more contextual information. You can also contact the project inbox [email protected] to ask us questions you might have.

As a project we will provide you with up to £4,000 (excluding VAT), and a workshop session introducing the data format or tool and possible applications. There will not be formal supervision, but we will provide weekly virtual consultation sessions with the Living with Machines team. Participants are welcome to request reasonable access adjustments to make sure they can fully participate. This can include in-person attendance to all consultation sessions at the Alan Turing Institute.

The brief is extremely flexible, and we encourage applicants to be as creative as they wish in their proposals. In return we would like awarded “residents” to produce a short end-of-project report and a blog post for our website. Instructions about the report format will be shared with successful applicants. 

Available funding

Funding up to £4,000 (excluding VAT) will be available for up to six projects each over a period of up to three months. The proposal should be defined such that the project can be completed by 31 July 2023. Although you can include different types of costs (please find eligible costs below), applications for solo residencies in which the only cost is the applicant’s time are welcomed too. Project costings will be reviewed as part of the selection process and the final  offer may differ from the requested total amount. The projects can be funded at Full Economic Cost and VAT may apply depending on the status of the applicant’s organisation. Some organisations may have different pricing structures depending on terms of funding, therefore please review the section below and take this into account when creating your project costing.

Eligible costs include:

  • Salary/fee of personnel working directly on the project – this could include, for example, PIs, postdoctoral research associates, research assistants, data managers, data scientists, software engineers, creative professionals, project managers.
  • travel and subsistence for the project team (e.g., attending conferences, travelling to/from venues where collaborators are based, for attending in person sessions at the Turing).
  • conference or event attendance fees (where conference/event is directly applicable to the research project).
  • Cloud computing or other high performance computing costs.
  • Other costs which are specifically justified for the project e.g., books, meeting room or catering costs.
  • Open access publications in some cases, for example, books, but not academic journal articles. If this is essential to your project, please contact the project inbox [email protected] as we may be able to cover the fee from another source.


Terms and conditions

Offers can only be made under full acceptance of the terms and conditions by signing the Research Services Agreement that will be provided to successful applicants. Please carefully read the key terms of agreement document available at the bottom of this page. The full Research Services Agreement can be provided upon request. Offers made to those applying in a self-employed capacity (without institutional affiliation) will be made under the same agreement, terms and conditions. Offers will only be fulfilled upon signing the agreement with no modifications. It will require awardees to have the following insurance cover in place: £1,000,000 in professional liability, public liability and cyber & data insurance. If you wish to apply via your own registered private company, please modify the self-employed Submission of Approval Letter as needed and mind that, if you are an employer, you will also need to have £10,000,000 employers liability insurance in place. Universities and other research organisations should already have this level of insurance in place. Those applying as self-employed can add the costs of this cover (for the period of the project) to their research services quote.


We welcome applications from academic researchers and other professionals. You might have a background in history, in data science, in data visualisation, in digital humanities, in the creative arts, or something we haven’t thought of. You do not need to be employed in a research institution. There are two routes for you to apply: as self-employed or as an employee of a recognised research institution, typically a university or a Independent Research Organisation (IRO).

If you are employed by a university or another research institution, you will be required to confirm your institution’s acceptance of these terms as part of this application process. If you are applying as self-employed, your acceptance to the terms and conditions will also be required as part of the application process. We welcome applications from academic researchers and other professionals based in the UK or abroad.


Proposals should have one or more of the datasets or tools listed below as a central part of their research or creative approach. Other datasets and code libraries can be used in conjunction. Applicants should devise a project that clearly describes their methods of working and the outputs delivered. Proposals should be no more than 600 words. Those based in universities should seek approval for the project costings from their Research Office (using the template provided) and request that their institution accepts this call’s terms and conditions before applying. Applicants who are not self-employed will have to submit an approval of submission letter from your research/finance office stating this. An example of a letter is provided in the “How To Apply” section for reference and must be uploaded to the application in this case. Applicants who are self-employed will be required to self-sign a letter and attach this to their application as well, to confirm able to accept the terms, if offered.

As a project governed by a services agreement, the intellectual property (IP)  ownership of the project results will remain with the Turing.   However, following the Living with Machines ethos and funding requirements, all results funded under our grant terms and conditions will be made publicly available under the UKRI Open Access policy. This does not preclude authors from continuing to develop their outputs after the project end. Credits and authorship must be acknowledge in all cases.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via the online portal. Please click on “Living with Machines Call for Digital Residencies". They should take the form of a 600-word proposal, costings document, CV and Submission Approval Letter. Costings and Approval Leters should be provided in the template format – please note that there are two templates for each document, one for those applying via their research organisation and another for self-employed applicants. If you have not already done so, all applicants must first register on the system and provide basic details to create a profile. If you have any questions regarding the application form or using the online system, please contact the project inbox: [email protected].    

We must receive your application by 23.59 on Friday 14 April 2023.

Documents available at the bottom of the page

  • Costings template (for those applying via their research organisation) 

  • Costings template (for those applying as self-employed) 

  • Submission Approval Letter template (for those applying via their research organisation) 

  • Submission Approval Letter template (for those applying as self-employed) 

  • Key Terms of the Services Agreement (full contract available upon request via [email protected])  


What should be in the proposal? 

The proposal should:  

  • Describe the scope and technical approach of the proposed work  

  • Describe how the approach would lead to the desired results 

  • Answer questions such as: What is innovative about the proposed research? Why are you uniquely placed to undertake this task?  

  • Reference related work or/and relevant experience (through the proposal and CV) 

  • Include a project budget based on the template provided 

If you are employed by one of the Institute’s13 university partners, please contact your University Liaison Manager (a list of University liaison managers is available on the Turing website) to make them aware of your application. They can provide support, answer questions and involve you as part of the Turing community at your university from now on. 

If you are employed at a university that received a Turing Network Development Award, please contact your Award lead (a list of Turing Network Development Award Leads - scroll to the bottom of the page) – to make them aware of your application. 

If you are self-employed any support you may need to apply will be provided by the Living with Machines management team. Please contact [email protected]  

Assessment and review

The assessment and review process will be undertaken during the following stages: 

  1. Stage 1.0: Eligibility and triage 

  1. Stage 2.0: Expert review 

Following eligibility checks, proposals will be reviewed by an assessment panel who will rank the proposals based on score. 

The assessment panel will consider the following criteria: 

  • Quality: This will consider the method and concepts for the proposed project. This will assess if the methods are suitable for delivering the desired outputs and pushing forward fundamental understanding in the field. 

  • Viability: This will assess how feasible it is to practically carry out the proposed project, and if it can be delivered in the time frame required. This will account for the difficulty of the tasks, logistical factors surrounding delivery, and the track record of the proposed team. 

  • Significance: This will consider the relevance to the call and the potential impact in relevant areas. Impact in this case can be understood broadly, including engagement with multiple audiences, furthering the understanding of the science and practice underpinning the project, etc.  

  • Justification of resources: This will consider whether the proposal is appropriately resourced and suitable expenditure has been included in the budget. 

Each of the criteria will be scored and while all criteria will have equal weighting in evaluation, there will be a minimum requirement on significance to be considered for approval.  

Key Dates

Friday, 14 April 2023: Proposals to be submitted via Flexigrant by 23:59 

Monday, 28 April 2023: Announcement of Results

Friday, 5 May 2023: Research Services Agreement signed and returned*

Monday, 31 July 2023: Research completed and Deliverables submitted

*Any project agreements not signed by May 5th 2023 may result in funding offer being withdrawn and going to an application on the reserve list. 

Post-award information 

Project meetings 

Successful applicants will be expected to attend a kick-off meeting, with the Living with Machines research team. These may take place online or at the Alan Turing Institute.  

Outputs required 

We require that the project will produce the following: 

  • If applicable, the application to and approval from the relevant research ethics committee from your university or independent research organisation. If you are applying as self-employed you may be requested to apply for and comply with the requirements of the Turing’s ethics approval process. 

  • If applicable, any source code, compilation, use documentation and material associated with the outputs delivered. 

Academic Publications and other outputs 

If one of your project outputs is an academic publication, please note, approval from the Living with Machines project is sometimes required prior to submission; in such cases, approval will not be unreasonably withheld. Please refer to the key terms and conditions document for more details. 

The funders are committed to full and open publication of the research outputs in line with academic practices.  

We encourage researchers to submit their findings to a high-quality peer-reviewed journal or conference, on an open-access basis (funding for open-access fees will be available on a case-by-case basis). 

Any publications that arise from awarded projects must credit the Strategic Proiirities Fund and the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Living with Machines project, quoting the grant reference number AH/S01179X/1, as the source of funding and cite the data source(s) used and any foundational publications. Journal publications should acknowledge the funding source using the standard format agreed by funders and publishers following the UKRI Open Access policy. Other types of outputs produced as part of the residency will be published open source by the Turing  acknowledging the source of funding. Applicants must ensure that they have lawful access to any other resource used in conjunction with the data or code made available by Living with Machines and that their use will not preclude making their project results publicly available.  

Reporting and dissemination  

Extracts from reports may be collated into update papers for the Living with Machines Project Management Board, Advisory Board, Turing Innovations Ltd Board, and the Turing’s Trustee Board.  

Awardees may also be invited to present their work to the Living with Machines project, the Living with Machines Advisory Board and/or other invited audience during the award period. 

Reporting allows further identification and signposting of potential additional opportunities for the benefit of the awardees and the Turing; for example, opportunities from across the Turing’s network such as new collaborations, external/public engagement, media/press, other funding availability, speaking slots at or invitations to events/conferences/seminars. 


Please contact André Piza, The Alan Turing Institute, Research Project Manager, via the project inbox [email protected].   

Please monitor this page for updates.