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Published: 08 Oct, 2021

Large infrastructure grants to the Faculty of Arts & Humanities

NEWS The Swedish Research Council is investing heavily in research infrastructure over the next 5-6 years, and has awarded no less than three large infrastructure grants connected to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Text: Per Melander

These infrastructures will not only enable innovative research throughout the humanities, but also make it considerably easier to undertake truly interdisciplinary research

That the Faculty of Arts and Humanities is involved in three new infrastructure projects is significant, and demonstrates the importance of Umeå in the development of research and research infrastructure in the humanities.

The grants include the creation of national infrastructures for Digital Archaeology (SweDigArch), Humanities Laboratories (HumInfra), and Scientific Visualisation (InfraVis).

Humlab and The Environmental Archaeology Lab (MAL) have driven these funding bids on Umeå’s behalf, and the projects will greatly enhance Umeå’s capacity to push and support cutting edge research across a range of research fields.

"These infrastructures will not only enable innovative research throughout the humanities, but also make it considerably easier to undertake truly interdisciplinary research. Research in archaeology, palaeoecology and the digital humanities will in particular be able to level-up and become even more internationally competitive", says Vice Dean Philip Buckland.

Great success

Philip Buckland, director of the Environmental Archaeology Lab and now Vice Dean, Ulf Sandkvist, previously Director of Humlab and now Head of the Department of Archives and Special Collections coordinated Umeå’s part of the grant applications. Stefan Gelfgren contributed to earlier versions during his time as Director of Humlab, and Karin Danielsson will take over the responsibility for running two of the projects as the new Director of Humlab.

"It is outstanding that the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Umeå University is part of three new research infrastructures funded by the Swedish Research Council. This is a great success which shows our clear role in research and infrastructure in the humanities", says Karin Danielsson, Director of Humlab, and continues

"These infrastructures represent new possibilities for researchers to undertake interdisciplinary and digital research through a national infrastructure at Umeå University".

Read more about VR:s decision

InfraVis - National Infrastructure the Visualisation of Scientific Data

With ever increasing possibilities for collecting and digitalising data, science creates more and more data which is more and more complex to visualise. Practically all research fields can benefit from clear graphical representations of data, models and interpretations, but it has been difficult for most researchers to gain access to the digital tools which are available.

"The Humanities has a tradition of artistic representation, but we have fallen behind when it comes to more technical, data-linked and computer based methods. As a partner in InfraVis, the Arts and Humanities will not only have new possibilities to use cutting edge technologies, but also influence their future development".

InfraVis will be led by Chalmers and is a partnership between the universities of Umeå, Gothenburg, Linköping, Linnaeus, Lund, Mid Sweden, Uppsala and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Read more about Humlab

SweDigArch – National Infrastructure for Digital Archaeology

Archaeology has worked with digital data, collected through instruments and analyses, for decades. Individual researchers regularly undertake calculations and create models on their own computers. Despite this, it has been difficult to connect large amounts of data between different research areas. There is an enormous amount of data that is difficult to access or not even digitised.

SweDigArch will ensure that all archaeological data created in Sweden is made easily available for any form of analysis. The infrastructure will make it easier to connect data on human and natural history to data from other research fields, such as ecology and geology, so that climate and environmental change can be studied with a long-term perspective.

The Umeå led Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database SEAD will become part of SweDigArch, and work will be undertaken by MAL and Humlab.

SweDigArch will be led by Uppsala University is a partnership between the universities of Umeå, Lund, Stockholm, Karlstad, Gothenburg and SciLifeLab, the National historical Museums and National Heritage Board.

Read more about MAL

Read more about Swedigarch

Read more about SEAD

HUMINFRA - National Infrastructure for Humanities Laboratories

New digital resources, databases and digital tools create new possibilities for research in the humanities. At the moment, however, we lack the structures needed for enabling researchers to create, share and use these resources and methods. HUMINFRA will solve this problem through the combination of skills from 12 universities and organisations.

The infrastructure will make the most of expertise from the digital humanities, e-science and digital material, tools and critical interpretation, but also a wider scope including experimental and quantitative methods, sensor based data and real-time analyses.

Umeå University has been an important environment for the digital humanities for over 20 years, both nationally and internationally. This includes research and education at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in general, but also the Humlab research infrastructure.

Humlab will, within the scope of HUMINFRA, coordinate and advance the teaching of a variety of digital tools and methods.

“Humlab is looking forward to being able to contribute to the development of digital possibilities for research in the humanities,” says Karin Danielsson, Humlab’s Director.

HUMINFRA will be led by Lund University is a partnership between Umeå University, the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, two units at Gothenburg University, Halmstad University, the National Library of Sweden, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Linnaeus University, the Swedish National Archives, Stockholm University and Uppsala University.

Read more about HUMINFRA

Read more about Humlab