Transforming Musicology Mini-Projects: Call for applications

Transforming Musicology Mini-projects

Transforming Musicology is a large-scale research project, funded under the AHRC's Digital Transformations scheme, seeking to explore the transformation of musicology through the application of software tools such as are emerging from research in Music Information Retrieval.

We invite applications for mini-projects to contribute to this research. Applications may come from academic staff at UK institutions which are entitled to apply for AHRC funding (see the AHRC's eligibility criteria). We aim to fund four mini-projects, each at the level of approximately £50,000. The deadline for applications is midnight on 21 March 2014.

Projects and Application Process

Mini-projects must:

  • Conduct research on a clearly defined musicological question using digital technology;
  • Communicate with other teams in the Transforming Musicology project, at least by making regular posts to the project's website;
  • Produce at least one of the following research outputs
    • A contribution to the final Transforming Musicology workshop, to be held in July 2016, with accompanying documentation,
    • A contribution to an edited book;
  • Contribute to the project's web-site and Semantic Web infrastructure;
  • Start between 1 June and 1 October 2014;
  • Finish by 31 March 2015.

Applications should be made by e-mail to Alan Marsden at Lancaster University ( An application should consist of a single PDF document with the following sections (broadly similar to the components of a typical AHRC application):

  • Title of the intended mini-project
  • Intended starting date and duration
  • Name, post, institution and contact details of the lead investigator
  • Name(s), post(s), institution(s) and role(s) of any other members of the research team. Teams may include members yet to be appointed, in which case an indication of the qualifications, skills and background sought in the appointee should be given. Teams may include individuals outside the UK, but their costs other than occasional visits to the UK must be met from other sources.
  • Objectives of the project (up to 4000 characters)
  • Summary of the project (up to 4000 characters)
  • Budget (total sum between £40,000 and £60,000)
  • Letter of support from the Head of the lead investigator's department
  • Case for Support (up to four A4 pages), containing the following
    • Musicological research questions to be investigated
    • Research context
    • Aims and objectives
    • Research methods, including what digital tools and materials are to be used, and how, and a provisional timetable. If materials will need to be digitised, give details of how this is to be done.
    • Fit to the Transforming Musicology project. How will this research be transformative for musicology? How will the mini-project feed into the overall project's Semantic Web infrastructure?
  • Justification of resources (one A4 page)
  • Curriculum Vitae of each team member (one A4 page each)
  • Publications of each team member (not necessarily a complete list, one A4 page each)
  • Any other supporting material (visual evidence, warrants of contribution in kind, external support, etc.) (up to four A4 pages)

Projects will be selected on the following criteria

  • Is the programme of research sound?
  • Are the musicological objectives clear and realistic?
  • Are the technical means clear and realistic?
  • How transformative for musicology is the project likely to be?
  • The degree to which the project will expand the areas of musicology represented in the Transforming Musicology project.
  • The scope for contribution to the Semantic Web infrastructure.
  • The skills and track record of the research team.
  • Value for money.

Applications from teams including early-career researchers and women are particularly welcome.

In order to make best use of the available resources, we reserve the right to fund mini-projects according to a budget varied from that in the application. Formal collaboration agreements between Lancaster University and the institutions participating in each mini-project will be required before any mini-project can start. Project costs may either include indirect costs, in which case funding will be 80% of full economic costs, mimicking the typical basis of AHRC funding, or projects may include only direct costs and be funded at 100%. Final decision on admissible costs will be made by staff at Lancaster University.

For the purposes of these mini-projects, musicology is defined broadly as the study of music, and it explicitly includes ethnomusicology, music theory and analysis. On the other hand, studies whose objective is the creation or dissemination of music are excluded. Any project whose primary objective is performance, composition, education, or the facilitation of any of these, is excluded.

Before you apply ...

We encourage those interested in bidding to carry out a mini-project to discuss their plans in advance with Alan Marsden or another member of the Transforming Musicology team. We anticipate that projects will involve partners who are computer scientists or technologists as well as musicologists. While we cannot guarantee to find appropriate partners, we are willing to make efforts to put potential partners in touch with each other.

Pre-Application Exploratory Event, 12 February, Lancaster

To assist in fostering good bids, an event will be held at Lancaster University on Wednesday 12 February 2014. Anyone entitled to bid for a mini-project (see above) may attend the event, subject to a limit on overall numbers. To reserve a place, please contact Alan Marsden ( Preference will be given to those who send a compelling 'expression of interest' (see below) by 17 January 2014.

The event will include the following:

  • A presentation about the Transforming Musicology project, its aims, rationale and components
  • A presentation on how the Transforming Musicology project plans to use Semantic Web technology
  • A presentation of some previous musicological research using digital technology and of some of the technologies available
  • An opportunity for participants to air their interests and seek research partners
  • An opportunity to ask questions about the Transforming Musicology project, about the mini-projects, and about the bidding process.

To help us in planning the event, we ask that attendees send an expression of interest to Alan Marsden ( by Friday 17 January 2014. Expressions of interest will be one page of A4 and take one of two forms, either primarily musicological or primarily technological. A musicological expression of interest will give

  • The name and contact details of the person attending the event;
  • An outline of the musicological question or questions you are interested in investigating;
  • A brief description of the research materials you might use, and whether or not they are already in digital form;
  • How you believe digital technology will contribute to answering the musicological questions.

A technological expression of interest will give

  • The name and contact details of the person attending the event;
  • An outline of a digital technology or resource in which you are an expert;
  • How you believe that technology or resource might contribute to transforming musicology.