The Summer Research Institute is a competitive, application based program, now in its eighteenth year. The program will be held online Sunday, June 6 through Saturday June 12, 2021. Applications will open the first week of January 2021 and close on Friday, February 26, 2021. Upon notification of your accepted application, you will be contacted directly with more information concerning the program schedule and how to register for the event. With the uncertainty of these times of COVID-19 in mind, we have decided to make this SRI a virtual event

Program Overview

Climate change and its consequences—from deadly forest fires to species loss to sea level rise—are reminders of the urgent need to repair the human-earth-ecosystem through holistic, ethically-responsible action. The SRI 2021 will explore how the union of contemplative wisdom and science can lead to greater awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, and the relationship between earth care and human health and cooperation.

The six-day program will begin with a focus on the historic and cultural roots of our current context. We will look at indigenous communities’ earth-care histories and contemporary courage. How have we lost the earth-honoring practices embedded in art, ritual, and storytelling, along with the power and wisdom of ancestor-insights? How can they still help us? We will examine histories of exploration, exploitation, and colonization and their contribution to today’s extinction crisis.  

We will then look at the individual and structural influences in modern society that disconnect us from each other and the earth. Scientific insights will be shared on the mind, brain, behavior change, and social change, along with successful models that can inform our own goals and work. We will draw from contemplative wisdom and the deep knowledge of change leaders. We will explore models of radical inclusive interrelatedness, interweaving both creativity and new scientific insights. 

With a firm grounding in contemplative and indigenous wisdom, SRI 2021 will look at the changes needed to nurture devotion to earth-care practices that minimize human impact, restore the natural environment, and nourish the human capacity for cooperative kindness, humility, and positive change. Our driving question will be how to re-awaken our relationship with the earth and all its inhabitants, while re-igniting our collective responsibility as stewards of our planetary future. 

Who Should Attend

The Mind & Life Institute is committed to building a rigorous community of interdisciplinary contemplatives, scholars, scientists, and changemakers—professionals, policy-makers, leaders, and activists—that integrates diverse perspectives and experiences. We welcome candidates of all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, ages, religions and spiritualities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, geographic locations, disciplines, and institutions to apply.

The Summer Research Institute is restricted to 200 participants who are selected through a competitive peer-review process. With a limited number of committed participants, the gathering fosters the potential for innovative and interdisciplinary dialogue as well as collaborations and the emergence of new research projects.

Applicants to the Summer Research Institute must apply to one of two categories:

New Investigators: Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral students/fellows conducting research in basic and applied sciences as well as the arts and humanities. Junior faculty and independent researchers in the interdisciplinary field of contemplative science and scholarship who are in the first five years of their appointment or career are also eligible to apply in this category. Participants who attend the SRI as New Investigators become eligible to apply for the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Research Grants.

Senior Investigators: Established academic researchers, contemplative scholars, and educators who hold a university or college faculty appointment (full-time, clinical, research, or adjunct). Other professionals (including therapists, teachers, clinicians, thought leaders, activists, etc.) who are independent researchers/professionals/ practitioners or affiliated with non-academic institutions are also encouraged to apply in this category.

For more information, please sign up to receive email notifications from Mind & Life, which include announcements about the Summer Research Institute. For specific questions, please contact programs@mindandlife.org.

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