Mind & Life Fellows are distinguished leaders in their respective field who have made significant contributions to the mission and vision of the Mind & Life Institute and more broadly to contemplative sciences, studies, and practice through her/his/their scholarship, activities, and influence.
Inaugurated in 2009, the first Fellows were given their designation based on contributions to Mind & Life programs. Since that time and with the growth of our field, Fellowship has matured beyond a simple designation. Today, the Mind & Life Fellows Program is a formal effort to mobilize and engage a global network of notable scientists, scholars, changemakers, and contemplative practitioners. Fellows represent diverse disciplines, sectors, and traditions, though all are aligned with the Mind & Life Institute’s mission, vision, and core values.
What is a Mind & Life Fellow?
Fellows are selected for this honor based on their exemplary work and are not required to fulfill specific duties, yet are encouraged to support and serve Mind & Life in ways that meaningfully resonate. Most importantly, Fellows provide critical insight and service to Mind & Life programs, communications, and community-building initiatives.
Types of Mind & Life Fellows
- Research Fellow – A researcher—scientific (basic, clinical, or social sciences) or humanistic scholar—engaged in contemplative sciences and/or studies.
- Changemaker Fellow– A thought leader or changemaker who facilitates application of contemplative interventions into real-world settings.
- Contemplative Fellow – A contemplative teacher and practitioner who engages in dialogue with scientists and scholars.
Principles of the Fellows Program
- Honorary fellowship to select group of experts from multiple disciplines who have contributed significantly to the Mind & Life mission and broader community.
- Service in the Fellows Program is strictly voluntary.
- Fellows are tenured for life.
- No formal time commitment is required of Fellows, unless a Fellow is asked to join a specific Mind & Life program or activity, for which time expectations are delineated.
Benefits of Being a Mind & Life Fellow
- Engage and collaborate with a global network of influential leaders committed to contemplative scholarship and practice.
- Meet and mentor other contemplative scientists, scholars and practitioners.
- Receive recognition and have your work highlighted in Mind & Life communications.
Eligibility Criteria to be a Mind & Life Fellow (must meet all 3 to be eligible)
- Has made significant contributions as a researcher, changemaker, or contemplative, with 10+ years in the field, to the mission and vision of the Mind & Life Institute and more broadly to contemplative sciences, studies, and practice through their scholarship, activities, and influence. Examples include a nominee who:
- Has directly or indirectly contributed to the field of contemplative sciences through studies and publications demonstrating significant or novel theoretical, experimental, or action-based research.
- Has been involved in or pioneered contemplative wisdom-based action in a community or a global scale.
- Has intentionally and explicitly set out to diversify the demographic reach of contemplative sciences and practices. Has championed the integration of values of equity, diversity, and inclusion in their contemplative action or research.
- Is or has been involved with the Mind & Life Institute in one or more of the following capacities:
- Has been an invited presenter at a Mind & Life program. Invited presenters include plenary faculty, contemplative faculty, discussants, artists, etc.
- Has served as a member of a Mind & Life Institute committee (Program Planning Committee, Grant Review, Steering Council, Board, SRI Review Committee, etc.).
- Has partnered or collaborated on a Mind & Life program or grant, or has been a mentor for the Global Majority Leadership and Mentorship Program.
- Exemplifies qualities that align with the Mind & Life mission, vision, and core values (compassion, integrity, curiosity, inclusion, and excellence).
Nominating a New Fellow
The Mind & Life Institute is committed to building a rigorous community of interdisciplinary contemplatives, scholars, and scientists which depends upon diversity of perspectives and experiences. Candidates for Mind & Life Fellows are nominated by current fellows and are from diverse backgrounds, i.e. various races, ethnicities, genders, ages, faith traditions and spiritual orientations, physical abilities, geographic locations, and academic and professional disciplines.
Please note that only current Mind & Life Fellows and staff members at the Mind & Life Institute are eligible to nominate others who meet the criteria for being a Fellow. Mind & Life Fellows are encouraged to nominate new Fellows who would contribute to the diverse global network of distinguished Mind & Life Fellows across the three different types of fellowship: Research, Changemaker and Contemplative. Nominations for 2023 Fellows will open on September 18, 2023 and close on October 16, 2023.
If you have any suggestions or questions regarding these revisions to the Fellows program, or about future directions of the program, please direct your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Fellows for 2022
Current Mind & Life Fellows
James Austin, PhD
Catherine Kerr, PhD (deceased)
Sallie McFague, PhD (deceased)