Applications will be open from Dec 4, 2023 to Jan 29, 2024. All application materials MUST be submitted by the deadline. Applications that remain incomplete or unsubmitted after the deadline will not be considered for acceptance to the program.

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

Emerging:  Students (undergraduate and graduate), postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty (researchers across the sciences and humanities), early-career changemakers and professionals, and contemplative practitioners within five years of appointment or beginning work in the field.  

Please note: Emerging researchers who attend the SRI become eligible to apply for the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Research Grants. Emerging changemaker participants will be eligible for our new Contemplative Changemaking Grants. Other participants may be eligible for other Mind & Life grants.

Established: Researchers (across the sciences and humanities), contemplative teachers, and changemakers (professionals, policymakers, leaders, activists), and those interested in this topic, who have held faculty appointments or positions for more than five years. 

We welcome candidates of all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, ages, religions and spiritualities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, geographic locations, disciplines, and institutions to apply.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the Mind & Life online application portal (made available on the application open date). Applications will be open from Monday, December 4, 2023, and close on Monday, January 29, 2024. All materials MUST be submitted by the application deadline. Applications that remain incomplete or unsubmitted after the deadline will not be considered for acceptance to the program.

Required Application Materials:

A personal statement (not to exceed 500 words) that describes: 1) how the SRI is relevant to the applicant’s work, studies, and/or personal interests; 2) how the SRI will develop the applicant’s research and/or career goals; and 3) how the applicant is poised to contribute to the learning exchange at the SRI and the field in general. When writing your personal statement, please be sure to specifically address this year’s SRI theme (Awakening Compassion in Times of Division: Breaking and Coming Together) and its relevance to your work and interests.

CV, resume, or NIH biosketch 

Optional Materials (encouraged but not required):

Poster presentations: Poster proposal to be considered for presentation at the SRI (instructions for how to submit a poster proposal can be found within the online application form)

For Emerging Applicants only: One letter of recommendation from a mentor or advisor or colleague (someone who knows you well enough to speak to qualities and experience as it relates to attending this program). The letter should articulate a compelling case for what the applicant will contribute or stand to gain by attending the SRI. 

SRI Application Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance: The relevance of the applicant’s research, work, and personal interests to this year’s SRI theme.
  • Development: How participation in this SRI will foster the applicant’s research and/or career goals.
  • Contribution: The applicant’s potential to: a) contribute to the learning exchange at the SRI; and  b) produce impactful outcomes in their respective field.

Please note: Having a regular contemplative practice is not a requirement for acceptance to the Summer Research Institute.


In our continued efforts towards equity, diversity, and inclusion, Mind & Life has committed to increase the participation of individuals from culturally diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds, and those with financial need. We are aware that our gathering is immeasurably enriched through a multitude of perspectives and experiences. With the support of generous donors, scholarship funding is available to people who might otherwise be unable to attend the SRI.  Scholarship awards will be made available to help with registration and travel costs. Applicants may apply to be considered for one or both.

In addition, scholarship funding is also available for individuals who are full-time monastics or members of the clergy (ordained or in full-time training). Individuals who wish to be considered for a monastic scholarship should indicate so as part of their scholarship application as well as submit a brief 150-word description of their monastic/clerical background.

Scholarship applications are submitted as part of the general application form (opening on December 4, 2023). In order to be considered for a scholarship, applicants must submit an additional 150-300 word personal statement that describes their need and how a scholarship to the SRI will enable their work and help them to achieve their research/professional goals. 

Scholarship recipients will be notified of their awards, including funding amounts, along with the general application decision letters that will be sent in March.

Instructions for Submitting an Application

Click the button below titled “Begin the Application Process” to be directed to the login page for the Mind & Life Online Application Portal.

If you have not applied for a Mind & Life Institute Grant or Program through the online platform before, please create a new account by clicking the green “Register” button in the top right corner of the screen. If you have applied for a Mind & Life Institute Grant or Program in the past using the online platform, please use your previous account information to login. 

(Note to administrators and assistants: please fill out the information of the person you are registering in the account information section). If you are not sure if you have already created a Mind & Life login in the past, or are having trouble accessing your account, please email for assistance.

Once you have created your account and logged in, you will be directed to the Mind & Life Institute Online Applications Portal which lists all open applications. To begin an application to the Summer Research Institute, click the green “more” button at the bottom right corner of the Summer Research Institute header. Once  directed to the program description page, click the green “Apply” button in the top right corner of the screen.

Once inside the online application form, follow the instructions on screen for filling out your personal information and uploading your application materials. Please note if you are accepted to the program, the same information you submit as part of the application will be used to populate your registration form for the event, so please make sure your information is accurate. A separate registration link will be sent out after your application has been accepted to finalize your registration for the SRI. (Note: submitting a SRI application does not constitute registration for the event, nor a commitment to attend).

For more information

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