For over a decade, the Mind & Life Institute has been committed to funding rigorous research across a range of disciplines to investigate the nature of the human mind, as well as the psychological, physiological, behavioral, and social impact of contemplative practices. Through our research funding, we aim to cultivate the field of contemplative sciences—both through the knowledge gained and the advancement of our scholars’ careers.

We offer a number of mechanisms to provide support to researchers and scholars. Please refer to the information for each of our programs to determine eligibility and topical relevance of your work.
Varela Grants | PEACE Grants | Think Tanks

Please note that Mind & Life does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Our grantees include some of the most prominent scholars in the field, as well as promising young investigators. To date, we are pleased to have awarded more than $5,200,000 to over 260 projects in cognitive science, psychology, medicine, anthropology, religious studies, and education—in 30 US states and in 20 countries worldwide. As a result of Mind & Life funding, more than 280 scholarly articles and books have been published, and our grantees have gone on to compete successfully for over $110 million in follow-on grant funding from other sources.

Where have we funded research?

Mind & Life is proud to have supported research in 30 US states and in 20 countries worldwide. Click any pin in the map below to learn more about each project.

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External Review

In the spirit of peer review, rigor, and fairness, we rely on external review committees to ensure the success of our research funding programs. These committees are comprised of established and talented scholars in the contemplative research community, representing a wide range of disciplinary and methodological expertise. Working with Mind & Life leadership and support staff, review committee members evaluate, rank, and recommend projects for funding each year. To establish consistency of evaluation and familiarity with the specific goals of our programs, we convene separate review committees for each program, whose members often serve across multiple years. See our current reviewers here.

Transparency and Open Science

We fully support and endorse open data sharing, transparency, and independent replication as core values of science. As such, the Mind & Life Institute is a signatory of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines, which outline best practices that we encourage in all our funded research. Organizations customize these guidelines to fit their specific communities and research goals—our version of the TOP Guidelines must be agreed to by all new grantees.

We also support open sharing of research findings in an effort to reach more people more effectively, to improve research practices, and build the future of scholarly communication. MindRxiv (pronounced “mind-archive”) is an open archive for research on mind and contemplative practices hosted by the nonprofit Center for Open Science (COS) and managed by the Mind & Life Institute. MindRxiv provides a free and publicly accessible platform for contemplative researchers within the sciences and humanities to upload working papers, preprints, published papers, data and code. Visit the archive to see the latest papers, or learn more about the move towards open sharing of research!

Research Values and Ethics

Mind & Life is committed to building a rigorous community of interdisciplinary contemplatives, scholars and scientists that integrates diverse perspectives and experiences. Historically, contemplative research has been dominated by a select and largely racially and ethnically homogenous group of scientists, scholars, and practitioners from a handful of academic institutions. This homogeneity reinforces societal imbalances and biases, and diminishes the field’s capacity to adequately understand the human mind and investigate the mechanisms and impact of contemplative practices.

Our grant programs are a natural extension of Mind & Life’s mission to alleviate suffering and promote human flourishing, and reflect our commitment to leading the way in integrating rigorous investigation while also addressing larger societal issues. In line with our desire to expand the scope of our collective inquiry and begin to address existing imbalances, we encourage applicants to:

  • practice sampling transparency by clearly describing participant demographics (including but not limited to age, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and education level);
  • consider demographics of research staff, those delivering interventions, as well as participant populations;
  • design ethical research protocols that take into account accessibility, cultural norms, and values of all involved;
  • investigate research questions relevant to understudied populations;
  • consider the limits of generalization to other populations, and interpret any conclusions within the specific context of the study.

Grantees and Funded Projects

Mind & Life Grant Programs

Mind & Life Legacy Grant Programs