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 visiting research scholar (“visiting scholar”) program allows leading scholars and thinkers from a range of disciplines—including law, journalism, the social sciences, 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 discussions about the Institute’s litigation, research, and public education projects and help connect the Institute with scholarly and other communities of relevance to the Institute’s work.

Applicants may want to review some of the projects undertaken by past visiting scholars, as these are indicative of the kinds of projects that the Institute hopes and expects to sponsor in the future. These projects include:

  • A series of commissioned essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression, published on the Institute’s website and in a collection by Columbia University Press.
  • A symposium on “Data and Democracy,” presenting original papers that consider how big data is changing our system of self-government.
  • An online conference to “Reimagine the Internet,” focusing on how to design new internet spaces that could lead towards healthier discussions, communities, and societies.
  • A series of roundtable conversations, a day-long symposium, and a series of original essays on “Lies and the Law,” exploring what the law can and should do about lies and deception in the mass public sphere.

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


The Knight Institute’s 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.

Applicants who hold a tenured or tenure-track position at an academic institution are eligible for appointment as a “visiting research scholar” at Columbia University. Applicants who do not hold such a position may be eligible for appointment as a research fellow.

The Knight Institute does not provide funding for book projects.


Individuals interested in being considered should submit a CV and brief proposal (no more than two pages) to Katy Glenn Bass, the Institute’s research director, at 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. 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. Please note that the Institute typically selects visiting scholars at least one year in advance of the academic year during which they will be at the Institute (so an application submitted in calendar year 2022 will be considered for the 2023-24 academic year at the earliest.)