Applications for the 2021 cycle are now closed

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. Applications to the 2021 Think Tank grants are now closed. Grantees will be notified in September.


The Think Tanks program is meant to bring together leading contemplatives, 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. In addition, successful Think Tank applications will demonstrate diversity among their organizers and participants in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age/seniority, and other dimensions of identity. Applicants/organizers from historically underrepresented backgrounds are especially 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; see list of preprint servers)
  • 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 (but are not limited to) curricula, best practices, websites, blogs, magazine articles, grant proposals, films, academic publications, white papers, books or edited volumes, 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.

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 the 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

  • Please provide an estimated budget describing how the funds will be spent.

To apply, please visit the online application portal ( during the next application period. The portal includes forms to collect the information above—please create your online application and review the forms well before the deadline to ensure a smooth process. Applications missing any required materials or not following the instructions may not be reviewed. 

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