Programs delivering contemplative training in various settings have expanded rapidly over the past decade. Our knowledge of cognitive, physiological and clinical effects of these practices (particularly mindfulness) has grown steadily, in large part due to the ongoing efforts of the Mind & Life Institute. Expanding from a focus on awareness-based practices to include the cultivation of virtuous, prosocial qualities and actions is clearly warranted as we look to foster positive change in the world.

To this end, the Mind & Life Institute is pleased to lead the way in supporting the development of this critical field through our new funding program, the PEACE Grants — supporting research on novel interdisciplinary approaches for investigating and nurturing wholesome mental qualities related to Prosociality, Empathy, Altruism, Compassion, and Ethics (PEACE). With this mechanism, Mind & Life will fund projects that advance our understanding of the mechanisms, implementation and outcomes of contemplative strategies to promote well-being and “doing good” in individuals and communities. In addition, we encourage the development of measures to rigorously assess these qualities in various real-world contexts.

This grant program encourages the active collaboration of scientists with contemplative scholars/practitioners in all phases of research. Two levels of funding are offered—$25,000 and $100,000—for projects that can be completed in a two-year time frame.

View the full Request for Letters of Intent

For any questions about this grant, please see the FAQ below, or email


To be eligible for a PEACE Grant, the applicant (Principal Investigator, and all Co-PIs) must have completed a terminal research/doctoral degree and sufficient training, experience and institutional resources to accomplish the proposed work.

Letters of Intent are due April 14, 2017 (by 11:59 PM Eastern Time) through our online application system. All applicants must submit a letter of intent to be considered for invitation to submit a full proposal. Applicants will receive email notification by mid-June as to whether they have been selected to submit a full proposal. If selected, a detailed request for proposals (RFP) will be sent to you at that time, and the final deadline will be August 30, 2017. Grants will be announced in December. See the Request for Letters for more details.
What is included under “contemplative practices”?
The term “contemplative practice” is meant in a broad sense to include a wide range of diverse phenomena such as meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer, prostration, tai chi, etc.

Are these grants open to international applicants?
Yes. Mind & Life Grants are not limited to residents of the United States. We encourage worldwide applications.

Would I be eligible if my work is based in the public sector, rather than a university?
Applicants need to be affiliated with a research institution (such as a university), especially in order to obtain IRB/ethics approval. Clinicians or others not affiliated with such an institution should partner with an eligible applicant who can provide access to research resources.

Can I submit two applications for different projects, or different aspects of the same project?
We do not accept two separate grant proposals from the same applicant, or from different applicants for two aspects of the same project.

Can I submit a proposal if I’m a current Mind & Life grantee?
While it is possible to be funded more than once through a given grants program, applicants must not be currently funded through any Mind & Life mechanism. For example, if you have been granted a Varela Grant in the past, you must submit a final report and reconcile the budget for that grant before applying for any other Mind & Life Grant.

What about indirect costs?
Grant funds may not be used to cover indirect costs. If a grant is awarded, the grantee’s institution must agree to waive all overhead and administrative fees, and further agree that the funds will be used solely for research purposes conducted by the grantee.

Can I apply with a Co-PI?
Yes, up to two people total can be listed as PIs on a single grant—this should be indicated in the Project Information section of the application. All applicants must meet all eligibility criteria for the given grant. If one applicant does not meet criteria, that person can be listed as a collaborator but would not receive funds. In the case of Co-PIs, one of the applicants must fill out a single application form for the whole project, and upload relevant biosketches.

Who receives the grant money?
Grant funds will be sent to the grantee’s institution. Grants cannot be given directly to an individual.

Do I need IRB approval?
Yes. Payment of the grant will not be made until confirmation of IRB approval has been received. IRB approval must be in place within six months of the date of notification of the receipt of the grant. (Canadian or European Ethical Review Board approval is also acceptable.)

What if I need more than two years to complete the project?
The length of the grant is two years from the date of the notification of grant acceptance. If more time is required, an application for extension must be submitted to Mind & Life. It will then be sent to the Science Director for approval.