The Brown Institute Announces its 2022-2023 Magic Grant Competition!

[Proposals are due April 8, 2022! Apply here]

[Register for an Information Session]

Last minute application resources for Columbia applicants! Beginning the week of March 21, join us Monday and Wednesday nights at 8PM for an informal virtual cocktail hour to talk about your ideas, mingle with peers, and ask general questions about granting opportunities at the Brown Institute. These sessions will take place at and will be hosted up until the Magic Grant deadline on April 8. We are also hosting two more information sessions, one on April 4 from 5-6pm ET and one on April 5 from 1-2pm ET.

[Read more about these last minute resources]

The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation, a joint effort between Stanford’s School of Engineering and Columbia Journalism School, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Each year, the Brown Institute awards close to $1M in grants to help you “follow your passion and experiment with new approaches to storytelling,” to paraphrase Helen Gurley Brown.  

Our “Magic Grants” are a unique blend of technology and media. Grantees develop new ways to find and tell stories —  producing platforms that extend our creativity, or creating powerful new works of journalism.

  • A Magic Grant can mean financial support for you and your team for up to a year (fellowships at Columbia, research positions at Stanford)
  • A Magic Grant can provide funding for your project — for production, prototyping, or purchasing services, software or equipment
  • A Magic Grant offers access to mentorship and our extensive alumni network

The Magic Grant program provides year-long funding awards of up to $150,000 ($300,000 for teams with members of both the Columbia and Stanford communities and their collaborators). In addition to funding, grantees have access to a distinguished advisory and mentoring group, and 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. Since its founding, the Brown Institute has funded over 80 projects and roughly 250 people through its Magic Grant program. A complete list can be found on our website.

To date, the Institute has funded the creation of editing tools that simplify audio and video production (RoughCut, Synthesizing Novel Video from GANS), advances in artificial intelligence and Machine Learning (Learning to Engage, Cable TV News Analyzer),  the curation of data sets and new database technologies to support journalism (Documenting COVID-19, Data Share, Democracy Fighters), and significant stories exploring new modes of expression through data visualization and immersion (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 2022-2023 cohort of Magic Grantees.

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!