CSCS Digital Innovation Fund (CDIF)

Posted by Sumandro Chattapadhyay at Nov 16, 2015 12:15 PM |
The CSCS Digital Innovation Fund (CDIF) has been set up by the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS) and the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) to encourage, host, and provide seed funding for the development of digital tools and infrastructure for arts, humanities, and social science research in India. The Fund’s priorities have been shaped by Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Lawrence Liang, Nishant Shah, Sitharamam Kakarala, S.V. Srinivas, and Tejaswini Niranjana; and it is administered by the Researchers at Work (RAW) programme at CIS.


A fundamental challenge has emerged in arts, humanities, and social science research with the coming of digital media. The challenge is of at least two kinds: 1) the ways in which we access our primary materials have changed, opening up the possibility of formulating new problems as well as conducting our research, and 2) additionally, the digital networks and objects that facilitate research are themselves becoming part of the phenomena we document and analyse. While the contexts under investigation are rich and diverse, the digital tools and methods by which to explore them are not readily available, especially in India.

CDIF uses the terms tools and infrastructure to respectively refer to autonomous software programmes and hardware devices, and platforms for collective use. A software to enable capturing of comments posted on a news website will be an example of the former, while an archive to be populated and annotated by a number of users will be an example of the latter.

The core mandate of CDIF is as follows:

  • Identifying digital tools and infrastructure needed by researchers and practitioners in arts, humanities, and social science fields. This is clearly not a one-time exercise, but a continuous one.
  • Promote, support, and fund the development of new digital tools and infrastructure, as well as revision and expansion of existing ones.
  • Creating focused conversations and materials around teaching of, and teaching through, digital tools and infrastructure across the arts, humanities, and social science disciplines.

During 2015-2017, CDIF has a specific interest in supporting efforts that engage with questions of the digital futures of Indian languages, needs and forms of archive-building, and tools and infrastructure of academic collaboration, among learners and among researchers.

CDIF will periodically announce open calls for project proposals related to development of digital tools and infrastructure for research. To receive these announcements, please subscribe to the [email protected] mailing list. In exceptional cases, we may also consider directly supporting a project.

For any clarification, including sharing of project ideas, please write to raw[at]cis-india[dot]org.



Sumandro Chattapadhyay

As a Director at CIS, I co-lead the researchers@work programme, and engage with academic and policy research on data governance and digital economy. I can be reached at sumandro[at]cis-india[dot]org.