The David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project Grants in the Council of the Humanities


The Gardner Magic Project provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to Princeton faculty members, thanks to the generosity of Lynn Shostack, in memory of her husband, David A. Gardner '69.

The goal is to support ideas that break new ground intellectually and pedagogically and have the potential to change how the humanities are conceived and taught. The committee is attentive to interdisciplinary initiatives as well as to intellectual “nooks and crannies” that might not be well known to students and colleagues but are essential to the richness of the Princeton experience. In this context, the word magic is used metaphorically to signal the possibility of making new things happen.

The 2017-18 Magic grants are awarded only for first-time projects to be carried out in the coming academic year (starting in the summer of 2017 and ending in the summer of 2018). In exceptional cases, funds can be granted for a two- or three-year period (e.g., for projects requiring advance preparation, multiple components, or specific timing).

Requests for projects that will be carried out in the current year (AY 2016-17) may be awarded on ad hoc basis if funds are available. Queries about current-year projects should not be submitted through the portal below but emailed directly to Kathleen Crown.

Grants are intended to reflect one or more facets of the Project’s mission:

  • to encourage unusual, even surprising, intellectual endeavors that depart from the status quo and have the potential to reshape a body of knowledge;
  • to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and team-teaching across fields;
  • to enlarge the curriculum in ways that encourage both faculty and students to adopt new modes of thought that transcend traditional academic boundaries;
  • to expose students to educational riches that might not otherwise be visible or available to them because of class size restrictions, budgetary limits, or other obstacles;
  • to encourage humanities faculty to collaborate with a colleague in science and engineering on a joint project.

Team Teaching Opportunities

Summer Course Development Stipend:  Through the David A. Gardner Magic Project, the Council invites pairs of Princeton faculty members to apply for summer stipends of $7500 to develop team-taught courses that reach beyond a single department/unit and can be cross-listed in Humanistic Studies. These courses should examine large questions and major texts, building bridges either within the arts and humanities, or across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Queries about course proposals are considered on a rolling basis and should be directed to Kathleen Crown, Executive Director, Council of the Humanities.


Magic Grant Awards for the current year, AY 2016-17.


Preparing Your Grant Request 

The deadlines for submitting proposals is October 24, 2016 (round one) and March 6, 2017 (round two). Funding requests for new courses will not be granted in round two. The application form will be posted late September.

Before you submit a project proposal, you are encouraged to contact Kathleen Crown, Executive Director of the Council of the Humanities, for guidance on eligibility criteria, necessary components of the proposal, and preliminary feedback on an initial draft (609-258-4719;


Regular Princeton faculty (senior lecturers; assistant, associate, full professors) may apply.* Other faculty, research, and administrative members of the University may be co-proposers.

* Lecturers, research scholars, and postdoctoral fellows on continuing appointments are also eligible to propose projects on their own, under the following conditions: 

  • the funds will be used to support pedagogical initiatives (e.g., new courses; student activity/travel in an educational context; innovative teaching materials/installations; team teaching)
  • the request is accompanied by an endorsement from the department chair
  • for course-related activities, the department confirms that the course would be offered and a teaching salary provided. (Magic grants do not cover salary for teaching University courses.)
The application form will require the following documents (as attachments):
  • A two-page proposal for the full project, which must include the following:
project title
name(s) of proposer(s)
principal departments involved
start and end dates, or tentative event date(s)
innovative nature of the project in relation to the humanities
project's benefit to Princeton University faculty and students
intended participants, with names and affiliations if known
a detailed budget (travel, lodging, food, materials) for the full project, indicating amounts contributed by, or solicited from, other offices on campus, particularly the host department

  • A brief, compelling abstract of the proposal (up to 200 words), clearly stating who is involved, what the funds will be used for, and where, when, and how it will be carried. It should further convey what makes the project innovative and potentially important. The abstract should be able to stand on its own as an overview of the project.
  • Proposals involving new courses or course-related student travel must also be accompanied by a brief email of endorsement from the chair of the relevant department, indicating any financial and logistical support the department will provide. You may attach that letter/email to the application form or have it sent directly to Kathleen

Proposals under serious consideration may be reviewed by faculty experts in the relevant fields, in consultation with the Council of Science and Technology, the Center for Digital Humanities, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Dean of Research, the Dean of the College, and other campus offices.


Important Dates

Late September: The online application form to submit Magic Grant proposals for Academic Year 2017-2018 will be available on this page.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016: An information session will be offered to potential applicants; 4:30 pm at Joseph Henry House. No reservations are necessary.
October 24:
Round one deadline   

December 2016: Applicants will be notified of decisions for round one.

March 6: Round two deadline

Late April: Applicants will be notified of decisions for round two.

July 2017: Funds will be transferred after the start of the 2016 fiscal year (which begins July 1, 2016).

May 15, 2018: Grantees must submit final reports on completed projects using an online form. Links will be provided, along with reminders from the Council.

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Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Telephone: (609) 258-4717
Fax: (609) 258-2783
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