Mind & Life co-founder Francisco Varela
Applications for the 2023 Varela Grants are open now through August 30.

Updated July 14, 2023

The Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Research Grants—an important and integral component of Mind & Life’s support of contemplative scientists and scholars—are based on neuroscientist and philosopher Francisco J. Varela’s belief that contemplative practices offer modern science novel, valuable methods for investigating human experience.

The Varela Grants fund rigorous examinations of contemplative practices with the ultimate goal that findings derived from such investigations will provide greater insight into contemplative practices and their applications for reducing human suffering and promoting flourishing.

Proposals are encouraged across broad domains, including: cognitive science, clinical psychology, education, anthropology, neuroscience, health/medical, social science, and humanities. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate first-person contemplative methods (e.g., introspective investigation and reports on subjective experience) into cognitive, behavioral, physiological, clinical, or socio-cultural research. Preference is also given to proposals that have the potential to contribute to interdisciplinary knowledge and to make connections across different disciplines. This grant program encourages the active collaboration of scientists with contemplative scholars/practitioners in all phases of research.

Grants of up to $25,000 (USD) are awarded annually through a competitive application, review, and selection process. Varela Grants are intended for early-career scientists and scholars. To be eligible for a 2023 Varela Grant, applicants must be either graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, or junior faculty. In addition, they must have attended the Mind & Life Summer Research Institute in 2019 or later.

Mind & Life wishes to express our deep thanks to the Hershey Family Foundation for their generous support of this program since its inception.

Please read the full Request for Proposals (RFP) for more information:

**NOTE: There is a different application cycle and process for the European Varela Awards. Please visit the Mind & Life Europe website for more information. Applicants may only apply for one type of Varela grant in a given year.

For any questions about the Varela Grant program, please see the FAQ, or email  VarelaGrants@mindandlife.org.

Congratulations to our
2022 Varela Grant Recipients

2022 Varela Grants Review Committee

Amy Finlay-Jones, PhD

Telethon Kids Institute, Australia


Jeff Yanli Lin, PhD

Washington University in St. Louis

Grantee, Reviewer

Robin Nusslock, PhD

Northwestern University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Reviewer

Jeffrey Proulx, PhD

Brown University

Grantee, Reviewer

Melissa Rosenkranz, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fellow, Reviewer

Karisse Callender

Marquette University


Anthony Zanesco, PhD

University of California–Davis

Grantee, Reviewer