High-quality communication of scientific and other forms of scholarly thought is a central aspect of a well-informed, democratic society. Ideas from these domains, while very relevant to daily life, can also be complex and are often misrepresented through the media. This is especially true in academic fields with broad public appeal such as contemplative science. 

Recent decades have seen a dramatic rise in public interest around contemplative practices (e.g., meditation, mindfulness, yoga, etc.), driven largely by scientific investigation of these practices and their benefit for individuals and society. The primary way that most people learn about contemplative research findings is through the media; however, pressures on major media outlets can often lead to over-simplification, hype, and mis-interpretation of this research. 

At the Mind & Life Institute, we bring science and contemplative wisdom together to better understand the mind and create positive change in the world. The Mind & Life Award for Public Communication of Contemplative Research encourages dissemination of nuanced and accurate insights from contemplative research to a broad audience. The program will reward excellent public-facing communication pieces about contemplative research that stand out in their ability to clearly convey scientific and scholarly ideas. This award is intended 1) to foster communication skills in the contemplative research community, and 2) to provide the public with interesting, accurate, and clear information that is relevant to their lives. 


The Mind & Life Award for Public Communication of Contemplative Research is open to present and past recipients of Mind & Life research grants. The application platform link will be provided by email to eligible candidates.

Application Details

The Mind & Life Award for Public Communication of Contemplative Research will be awarded through a competitive application and selection process. Eligible contemplative researchers will be invited via email to submit their application. The application will consist of the following elements:

  • Public communication piece
    • The piece can be about the applicant’s own research; it can also be a synthetic piece, drawing on multiple studies and describing a key concept in the field (e.g., embodied cognition; the predictive brain and meditation; mindfulness for addiction, etc.). The topic can be anything within contemplative research that is relevant to the public, ranging from science to humanities. 
    • Pieces should be newly created (i.e., not previously published), should draw on peer-reviewed, published research findings, and should accurately and clearly represent the current state of knowledge.
    • Accepted formats include, but are not limited to: blog or essay (up to 3,000 words of text and up to 2 optional figures); short explainer video (up to 8 minutes; file must be under 1GB); podcast or other audio format (up to 20 minutes; file must be under 1GB); interactive website. If you are envisioning a format not listed above, please contact us: grants@mindandlife.org.
  • The applicant’s up-to-date abbreviated CV (5 pages or less)
  • 1 to 3 academic publications that support the work being presented.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of individuals with expertise in contemplative research as well as in public communication. The review process will be based on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy: the piece conveys original, published, high-quality research with care while remaining factual and nuanced, without hype
  • Clarity: the piece is understandable by a lay audience
  • Appeal: the piece is engaging, interesting, and compelling
  • Relevance: the importance of the topic to daily life is made clear 

Winning piece(s) will be shared widely through our network, giving the awardee—and the ideas they’re communicating—enhanced visibility. Winners will also receive a $1,000 cash prize.

Applications open April 17, 2023

Application Deadline: June 30, 2023 at 5:00pm ET

Awardees announced in Fall 2023

If you have any questions about the Mind & Life Award for Public Communication of Contemplative Research, please contact grants@mindandlife.org.