The Mind & Life Institute is pleased to offer a Visiting Scholars Program and Research Workshops. These programs offer members of the Mind and Life global community an opportunity to pursue contemplative scholarship and research or organize collaborative workshops while interfacing closely with our in-house academic staff. Beginning in January 2013, MLI headquarters will include a gracious residence on the nearby Amherst College campus, with newly refurbished offices and meeting space in which to host these programs.
This program is meant to provide time and space for intensive collaborative work between Visiting Scholars and the MLI staff and local academic community. Possible projects to be undertaken while in residence include, but are not limited to, writing, curriculum development, non-laboratory research, and/or development of introspective and contemplative methodologies. We also view this as an opportunity for senior members of the larger MLI community to interact with promising young scholars, thereby extending and broadening our collective efforts. It is our hope that participation in this program will culminate in outcomes that communicate and promote the intellectual fruits of work at MLI, such as journal articles, book chapters, and books, or formal meetings on an MLI theme.
Our new location will be able to provide working space for up to seven Visiting Scholars at a time. We will solicit applications and make our selections based in part on prospective scholars’ capacities and eagerness to contribute to activities within the broad rubric of MLI’s mission, including our three new areas of focus: Secular Ethics and Compassion; Mapping the Mind; and Craving, Desire and Addiction. Visiting Scholars will generally be in residence for periods ranging from a few weeks to an academic semester. Scholars will have access to the libraries of the Five Colleges (Amherst College, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst) and other resources at Amherst College. We are also planning to organize a Contemplative Studies Seminar, to which Visiting Scholars may contribute, that will be open to interested members of the Five Colleges community. In addition, bi-weekly journal clubs among scholars will offer opportunities for informal dialogue across disciplines.
We will accept applications from two tiers of applicants: Junior Scholars and Senior Scholars. Junior Scholars are strong undergraduates, graduate students in a PhD program, recent post-docs, or junior faculty in the first three years of their appointments. Senior Scholars are more established academic faculty or professional scholars. Through the generosity of the Hershey Family Foundation and an anonymous donor, we are pleased to offer a stipend to Junior Scholars as a way to help reduce the financial burden of travel, housing and living expenses. As this program is still in its infancy, we ask that Senior Scholars provide the bulk of their own financial support (e.g., via faculty sabbatical leave or their own grant support), until we are able to obtain additional funding.
The new MLI Visiting Scholars and Research Workshop programs will contribute further to establishing MLI headquarters as a substantive, animating node within the MLI global community.
The Visiting Scholars Program is structured on a trimester system, as follows:
- Fall (August 15 – December 31), Application deadline: May 1
- Spring (January 1 – May 15), Application deadline: August 15
- Summer (May 15 – August 15), Application deadline: January 15
Scholars, scientists and contemplatives wishing to apply as a Visiting Scholar should email the following materials (in PDF format) to VisitingScholars@mindandlife.org by the deadline corresponding to the session containing the start date of proposed residence:
- Short bio (150 words max)
- Summary of proposed research or project (150 words max)
- Proposal for research or project (2-3 pages), including:
- Project title
- Specific planned activities and potential outcomes (e.g., manuscript, research proposal, method development, new course, etc)
- Explanation of how this interfaces with Mind and Life mission/initiatives
- Requested start date and length of residency
Additionally, for Junior Scholars:
- Two letters of recommendation from colleagues who can speak to your ability to accomplish proposed goals
- Optional: scholarship request describing any financial needs (limited funds are available to cover living expenses for Junior Scholars)
Applications will be reviewed within 2 weeks of the application deadline. Generally, in selecting Visiting Scholars we will seek excellence while maintaining a balance with respect to age, gender, nationality/ethnicity/geographic base, contemplative tradition, and between scholars, scientists, and contemplatives. We will also show a preference for projects or research designs that exemplify strong integration of first-person experiential knowledge and inquiry with second-person intersubjective modes of inquiry and third-person observational and analytic methods. While we welcome international scholars to apply, Mind and Life cannot assist in the processing of work visas at this time.
Throughout the year, we will also use the Visiting Scholars’ facility to host occasional Research Workshops, ranging from two days up to two weeks in duration. Workshops longer than a few days will normally take place during the summer or January; shorter research meetings and workshops can be scheduled throughout the year. Some of these workshops will be on themes designed by MLI, often with the purpose of incubating or advancing a particular project area. However, we also strongly encourage MLI community members to propose and organize their own Research Workshops on themes that fall within MLI’s overall mission.
We will be able to offer Research Workshop organizers some funding that can go towards food and accommodation, though we expect attendees to provide for their own travel to and from Amherst; in future years we will announce the availability of any additional MLI funding for Research Workshops.
MLI community members wishing to organize a Research Workshop should email the following materials (in PDF format) to VisitingScholars@mindandlife.org:
- Summary of proposed workshop (150 words max)
- Cover letter (2-3 pages) including the following:
- Proposed workshop title and dates
- Description of the proposed workshop
- Explanation of the workshop’s relevance to MLI’s mission
- Anticipated outcomes of the workshop (e.g., theoretical papers, future meetings, etc)
- List of the people who will be invited to the workshop or a description of the types of people who will be invited
- Budget outlining any requested funds (optional)
We will review Research Workshop applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, with decisions generally made within 8 weeks of receipt.
Questions about the Visiting Scholar and Research Workshop programs may also be sent to VisitingScholars@mindandlife.org.