Think Tank grants of up to $15,000 (USD) are awarded annually through a competitive application and selection process; these funds support travel, accommodations general coordination, and other aspects of Think Tanks related to the deliverables. The proposed work should be completed within a 2-year period. Progress reports are required for grantees to remain in good standing. The application submission deadline is in May of each year; grantees are notified in September.


The Think Tanks program is meant to bring together leading thinkers, researchers, and changemakers from academia, professional sectors, social activism, and other arenas to catalyze creative advances bridging contemplation, research, and action. Five committed participants/organizers must be in place in order to apply. To encourage integration of research/scholarship and on-the-ground applications, at least one of these five individuals must be actively engaged in research/scholarship, and at least one must be actively engaged in applying this work in the world. Examples of research/scholarship include, but are not limited to: psychology, neuroscience, clinical research, social science, and humanities. Examples of applied work include, but are not limited to: mental health, social activism, medicine, education, contemplative spaces (e.g. meditation centers, yoga schools), and others.

While there are no formal eligibility requirements in terms of degrees or experience, most successful applicants have strong track records in one of the aforementioned areas and the Think Tank proposes to bring together a diversity of perspectives. Underrepresented applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications are reviewed and selected by an external committee of experts based on the following criteria:

  • Significance and Impact: The project addresses an important issue with societal relevance, has potential to lead to advancement in the field of contemplative research, is relevant to the Mind & Life mission, and will deliver meaningful/impactful outcomes.
  • Approach/Feasibility: The process and structure of the Think Tank are adequately developed, budget allocation is well thought out, and deliverables are both compelling and feasible.
  • Participants: The five core team members have relevant expertise and are clearly committed to the project. The core team includes at least one researcher/scholar and one individual applying this work in the world. The facilitator(s) is/are designated and fit for their roles. The overall team is multi-disciplinary (representing at least three different disciplines) and diverse.
Reporting and Deliverables

Think Tank grantees must sign an agreement with Mind & Life, committing to the following:

  • Producing a one- to two-page summary report, due two weeks after the conclusion of the Think Tank meeting
  • Producing a full impact report, including deliverables and outcomes, due two years after the Think Tank is awarded
  • Posting preprints of any resulting publications in a public free repository (e.g., MindRxiv)
  • Acknowledging support from the Mind & Life Institute in all resulting publications or other deliverables.

Think Tank deliverables can be creative and wide-ranging, but must be concrete and specific. Examples include academic publications, white papers, best practices, books or edited volumes, websites, films, curricula, grant proposals, etc.

Please note that Mind & Life may share news and other information about the Think Tanks on our website and social media to benefit the global community.

Application Information

Before you apply, please read the Think Tanks FAQ carefully for important further information about the Think Tank grants. Please prepare the following application materials, to be submitted through the online application portal which will re-open in April 2021.

Think Tank proposal

  • Title
  • Lay Summary (150 words maximum)
  • Proposed dates and location/venue
  • Background (300 words maximum)
  • Description of Think Tank planning, meeting, and expected outcomes (300 words maximum)
  • Provisional meeting format, schedule, facilitation, etc.
  • Outcomes and deliverables (e.g., white paper, conference, grant, website, curricular development, etc.) (150 words maximum)
  • Statement on ethics, diversity (institutional, disciplinary, perspective, etc.), global reach, and engaging leaders and policy makers (150 words maximum)
  • Relevance to Mind & Life mission and goals (150 words maximum)


  • Five committed participants/organizers (including applicant), with CVs (5 page limit each) and letters of support from each, confirming their commitment to the project. At least one must be a researcher/scholar and at least one must be working on real-world applications.
  • 10–20 invited participants, covering a diversity of perspectives and social identities. A minimum of three disciplines and three professional affiliations must be included.

Estimated budget

For questions about this grant program, please see the Think Tanks FAQ, or contact