2012 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
Through a partnership with the 1440 Foundation, the Mind & Life Institute is pleased to announce the Mind and Life 1440 Awards, specifically geared towards the investigation of real-world (as opposed to lab-based) outcomes of contemplative practice. These awards are intended to promote research that evaluates whether and how contemplative practice can promote inner well-being and healthy relationships, as well as the development of new methods to assess these outcomes in everyday life.
Possible research questions for the 1440 Awards include:
- What are the important elements of a fulfilling relationship, and can these skills be trained through contemplative practice?
- What methods can be developed to accurately measure “relational health” in the real world?
- What is the impact of the quality of one’s relationships on contemplative practice?
- What innovative methods can assess the impact of emotional awareness and well-being on one’s interactions with others in daily life?
- How does contemplative practice contribute to self-awareness, inner well-being and mental fitness, and does this affect interpersonal skills and relationship development?
BACKGROUND AND GOALS
Mind and Life promotes and supports rigorous, multi-disciplinary scientific investigation of the mind that will lead to the development of practices that cultivate inner well-being and authentic relationships characterized by compassion and kindness. Our commitment to an interdisciplinary approach includes research in the traditional mind sciences, social sciences, contemplative scholarship and practice, philosophy and humanities. We believe that only through this integrated investigation can we achieve a comprehensive understanding of how the mind works, the benefits of contemplative practices, and the best methods for realizing both inner and relational fitness.
We see these goals being achieved in two main stages of scientific investigation. The first stage is basic science in the laboratory: How do contemplative practices affect biological and psychological systems in the practitioner? Are there consistent, measurable changes that lead to positive outcomes (e.g., reduced stress, brain changes, personality changes)? While this stage is a necessary first step to begin to understand the mechanisms underlying meditation, the real work lies in applying this knowledge outside the lab, in everyday life. Thus, the second stage is geared toward applied, real-world science: How can contemplative practices be used to increase our awareness of ourselves and others in the midst of our modern world? What practices lead to healthier relationships and more compassionate interactions, and how can we measure this?
To date, the research on contemplative practice has fallen mainly in the first stage described above, exploring the effects of meditation on the body and mind in a laboratory setting. Much has been learned from these ground-breaking studies, including the establishment of methods and measures for investigating contemplative practices, as well as insight into techniques and practices that enhance well-being and reduce suffering.
The 1440 Awards are offered to advance Contemplative Science into the second phase of investigation: real-world application of contemplative techniques and practices in social and relational settings.
In addition to expanding the boundaries of Contemplative Science into the real world, the 1440 Awards are also intended to support the developing careers of first-rate scientists, scholars and clinicians involved in this area of study. In line with Mind and Life’s interdisciplinary approach, this grant program encourages the active collaboration of scientists with contemplative scholars/practitioners in all phases of research. An ancillary outcome of the 1440 Awards will be the development of rigorous methods to evaluate real-world outcomes on social functioning and relationships. By encouraging and enabling high-level research in the area of social and relational outcomes of contemplative practice, the 1440 Awards aim to expand the applications and impact of contemplative practices in the world.
Grants of up to $15,000* will be awarded through a competitive application, review and selection process. Applications are reviewed and selected based on five criteria: significance to the field, approach/design, innovation/novelty, quality of the applicant and likelihood of success, and strength of academic environment. Proposed research should be completed within a 2-year period, and annual progress reports are required for awardees to remain in good standing. It is expected that the completion of proposed research will result in the submission of findings to a peer-reviewed scientific journal and/or conference. The 1440 Awards are open to any academic researchers, although we seek to specifically promote the careers and development of young investigators such as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
To apply, please submit the following materials between October 15 and November 15, 2012, through the online application at www.mindandlife.org/grants:
- Online Application Form
- Research Proposal, including Title, Background and Significance, Brief Methods, and Expected Outcomes. Emphasis should be placed on evaluating the effects of contemplative practice on inner well-being and healthy relationships, using or developing methods that probe everyday life situations. (2-3 pages, single-spaced, 1200 words maximum)
- Abstract (200 words maximum)
- Applicant’s current CV (NIH biosketch style preferred)
- Detailed budget (awards may only be used for research costs; they may not be used for salary, personnel, or indirect costs including overhead and administration)
- Two letters of recommendation (for graduate students and postdocs only), which can be emailed separately or submitted with the formal application. Letters should speak to the ability of the applicant to perform the proposed research, and the potential of the applicant to contribute to the field of Contemplative Science.
* Two scenarios may allow for an increase of funding up to $25,000:
- If the applicant can obtain matching funds from other sources and provide appropriate documentation, Mind and Life will provide an additional $10,000 to supplement the award.
- If the applicant can clearly state a need for additional funding based on methodology/design (e.g., neuroimaging or other costly methods, large community sample size, etc.), Mind and Life will consider budgets up to $25,000.
Proposals will be accepted between October 15 and November 15, 2012 and awardees will be selected and announced on February 15, 2013. For more details, please visit www.mindandlife.org/grants, or email 1440Awards@mindandlife.org with specific questions.