The Knight Institute welcomes proposals on a rolling basis from scholars interested in collaborating with the Institute on substantial projects relating to the Institute’s mandate. 

The Institute’s Senior Visiting Research Scholar (“Visiting Scholar”) program allows leading scholars and thinkers from a range of disciplines—including law, journalism, and computer science—an opportunity to spend a semester or year at the Institute focusing on projects that engage with critical questions relating to the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age. Visiting Scholars’ projects may take a variety of forms, including commissioning and editing essays or scholarly articles around a common theme; undertaking empirical research; conceptualizing and organizing public events; convening scholars, policymakers, or others; or developing new frameworks for the Institute’s litigation, research, and public education efforts. Visiting Scholars also participate in the Institute’s decision-making about its litigation, research, and public education programs and help connect the Institute with scholarly and other communities of relevance to the Institute’s work.

The projects undertaken by past Visiting Scholars are indicative of the kinds of projects that the Institute hopes and expects to sponsor in the future. Projects that the Institute’s Visiting Scholars have undertaken in the past include:

  • A series of commissioned essays focused on “emerging threats” to the system of free expression, published on the Institute’s website and, later this year, in a collection by Columbia University Press.
  • A symposium (co-hosted with the Columbia Law Review) on “The First Amendment in an Age of Inequality.”
  • A series of commissioned essays on the future of the First Amendment, and a closed convening of scholars and technologists focused on the same topic.
  • A symposium on “Data and Democracy.”

Visiting Scholars receive a stipend commensurate with their experience and the scope of their research project.

Applications

The Knight Institute's Senior Visiting Scholars are distinguished scholars and leaders in their fields, with recognized expertise in disciplines or subject areas relevant to the Institute's mandate and work.

Individuals interested in being considered should submit a C.V. and brief proposal (no more than two pages) to Katy Glenn Bass, the Institute’s Research Director, at katy.glennbass@knightcolumbia.org. Proposals should describe the proposed project, explain how the project relates to the Institute’s mandate and work, and explain what resources the Institute would have to provide in order to ensure the project’s success. Some applicants may want to submit a proposed timeline. In selecting Visiting Scholars, the Institute will give consideration to the strength of applicants’ past and present work, to their capacity to create and deliver projects that advance the Institute’s current programmatic priorities (described here), and to the potential for their research or scholarship to inform the Institute’s future work.

Proposals may be submitted at any point in the calendar year. The Institute considers applications as they are submitted, with the assistance of an advisory committee that includes former Visiting Scholars as well as faculty from Columbia’s Law and Journalism Schools.