The Brown Institute Announces its 2021-2022 Magic Grant Competition!

The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute at Columbia Journalism School and the School of Engineering at Stanford are delighted to announce its 2021-2022 Magic Grant program. Applications are due May 1, 2021!

Each year, the Brown Institute awards close to $1M in grants and fellowships to foster new tools and modes of expression, and to create stories that escape the bounds of page and screen. We are committed to radical experimentation with the potential to define new priorities and practices for both engineering and journalism.

The “Magic Grant” program provides year-long funding awards ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 (up to $300,000 for teams with members of both the Columbia and Stanford communities). In addition to funding, grantees have access to a distinguished advisory and mentoring group, support for professional development, and connections to an extensive and inspiring alumni network.

Successful Magic Grant projects have taken various forms — from novel works of journalism, to new software platforms, and even innovations in hardware. The common link among all our grants is that they develop new ways to find and tell stories. They can be platforms that extend our creativity, or powerful new kinds of journalism.

Since its founding, the Brown Institute has funded over 80 projects through its Magic Grant program and a complete list can be found on our website at

To date, the Institute has funded the creation of data sets and new database technologies to support journalism (Documenting COVID-19, Data Share, Democracy Fighters), editing tools that simplify audio and video production (RoughCut, Synthesizing Novel Video from GANS), advances in artificial intelligence and Machine Learning (Cable TV News Analyzer, Learning to Engage), and significant stories exploring new modes of expression through data visualization and immersive tech/XR (We Can, 1000Cut).

And with these grants we have supported the work of journalists, computer scientists, engineers, artists, designers, and communications and digital humanities scholars. This is just a hint at the variety of projects we support, and we expect similar breadth in the 2021 cohort of Magic Grants.

Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing short features on previous grants to give you a sense of the variety of projects we fund. We have also prepared an extensive FAQ page to help answer a number of common questions. We will also be posting dates for information sessions on our website at

For more information or to schedule an appointment to talk about your idea, please contact us at or

Apply at

We look forward to seeing your proposals!