Intersubjectivity and Social Connectivity

Garrison, New York

Application period: January 9 – February 20, 2017
Summer Research Institute: June 5 – 11, 2017

The application period had been extended through February 20, 2017 and is now closed. For questions contact

Limited Scholarships Now Available

A limited number of scholarships are now available to outstanding under-represented and international applicants. All applicants, including those who already submitted materials, are eligible to receive this scholarship.
To be considered, please send a 100-word (max) request to Please note in your request if your participation in the Summer Research Institute is predicated on receiving a scholarship.

Program Overview

The 2017 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute (SRI) will give attention to scientific, humanistic and first-person contemplative perspectives on intersubjectivity and social connectivity. Plenary presentations, workshops and small group discussions will explore interrelational human dynamics, including how we relate to ourselves and others, and to community and strangers. Faculty will present research findings on the meditative cultivation of pro-social emotions, intergroup dynamics, social and embodied cognition, cognitive ecology, implicit bias and social justice. We will also examine how these experiences are embodied in the brain, nervous system and cellular health. By deepening inquiry through a week-long interdisciplinary dialogue, we will investigate ways in which social and cultural histories shape subjective and collective values, beliefs and purpose in life, and the mind-body complex. Discussions will highlight scientific research on the interconnectivity of mind and physiological health as well as environmental and technological influences on interpersonal connections and social cognition. Workshops will engage participants in facilitated trainings on critical issues in transdisciplinary research methods as well as social diversity and inclusion in the contemplative sciences.

About Mind & Life Summer Research Institute

sri-2016-3Each June, Mind & Life hosts the Summer Research Institute at the Garrison Institute in New York. SRI is an immersive educational program and mini-retreat that incorporates academic presentations, training workshops, informal breakout groups, posters and regular contemplative sessions including a full-day silent retreat. This week-long intensive event gathers senior faculty from the Mind & Life community to mentor and support the next generation of interdisciplinary scholars and scientists who are establishing the field of contemplative sciences.
The unique program format of SRI offers opportunities for deep dialogue across disciplines as well as inquiry through first-person meditation practice. Formal meditation, Tai Chi and yoga practice are integral to the program, providing an extended and personal contemplative-practice experience.
This contemplative context also underscores the challenges of honoring and learning from first-person experience. In addition to the morning and evening meditation sessions each day, there is a silent day-long mini-retreat led by the contemplative faculty to extend and deepen the experience as well as the challenges and understanding of meditation practice. The silent-retreat day includes sitting and walking meditation practices as well as time for personal reflection. The natural beauty and secluded atmosphere of the Garrison Institute, coupled with the informal and collegial gathering, all contribute to a relaxed but rigorous community of shared intention and mutual respect.

Who Should Attend

SRI is restricted to 150 participants who are selected through a competitive peer-review process. With a limited number of committed participants, the gathering fosters the potential for innovative and interdisciplinary scientific conversations as well as potential collaborations and the emergence of new projects. We welcome your application!

  • New Investigators including graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows conducting research in basic and applied sciences as well as the arts and humanities. Students and early-career researchers and contemplative scholars who work in the interdisciplinary field of contemplative sciences and scholarship are encouraged to apply.
  • Senior Investigators including established academic researchers, contemplative scholars and educators who hold university or college faculty appointments (full-time, clinical or adjunct). Other professionals (including therapists, teachers, clinicians, thought leaders, etc.) who are independent practitioners or affiliated with non-academic institutions are also encouraged to apply in this category.


The 2017 Summer Research Institute will be held at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, 50 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley. Please see the Garrison Institute website for more details.

Application and Registration Schedule

  • January 9     Online application opens
  • February 20  Application closes and materials due
  • March 27      Notification of applicants via email and registration opens
  • April 21         Registration closes
  • May 15          Cancellation Deadline (for 90% refund)
  • June 5           Opening Session and Orientation

The Summer Research Institute begins mid-afternoon on Monday, June 5, 2017, and continues for six days, ending on the morning of Sunday, June 11, 2017.




The Summer Research Institute faculty includes scientists, clinical researchers, contemplative practitioners, scholars and teachers from a variety of disciplines.

  • Jim Coan, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Virginia.
  • Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, Ph.D., is Director of Faculty Equity & Inclusion and a Professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Hanne de Jaegher, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the University of the Basque Country in San Sebastián, Spain.
  • Elissa Epel, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California–San Francisco.
  • Peter Grossenbacher, PhD, is a Professor of Contemplative Psychology and Director of the Consciousness Laboratory at Naropa University.
  • Rhonda Magee, JD, MA, is a Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco School of Law.
  • David A. Sbarra, Ph.D., Professor & Director of Clinical Training Department of Psychology, University of Arizona.
  • Tania Singer, PhD, is the Director of the Department of Social Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.
  • Evan Thompson, PhD, is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia.
  • William Waldron, PhD, is a Professor of Religion at Middlebury College.
  • Additional faculty to be announced.



  • Pete Fleming, MBA, MA, User Experience and Market Research Manager, Facebook Protect and Care Team
  • Lisbeth Nielsen, Ph.D, is Chief of the Individual Behavioral Processes (IBP) Branch in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Harold D. Roth, Ph.D, is Professor of Religious Studies and the Director of the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University
  • Cliff Saron, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.
  • Wendy Weber, Ph.D, is Chief of Clinical Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch, Division of Extramural Research at the National Center for Complementary Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health


Contemplative Faculty

  • Thupten Gyaltsen Dorje Rinpoche, Resident Teacher, Urgyen Samten Ling Gonpa, Professor, University of Utah
  • Jessica Morey, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, Concord, MA
  • Catherine Shaddix, Psy.D, Yoga Workshop, Boulder, CO and Clearwater Clinic, Oakland
  • Peter Wayne, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Research Director of Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.


Program Planning Committee

  • Sona Dimidjian, PhD
  • Elissa Epel, PhD – Co-Chair
  • Rhonda Magee, JD
  • Michael Sheehy, PhD – Co-Chair
  • Evan Thompson, PhD
  • Carol Worthman, PhD



The registration fee is paid by successful applicants at the time of registration. The fee covers all programs, room and board, as well as three vegetarian meals per day. Each participant is expected to cover his/her own travel expenses.
Non-refundable application fee: $45
Registration fee:

  • $475 for New Investigators
  • $675 for Senior Investigators


Travel Scholarships

The Mind & Life Institute is pleased to offer partial region-based travel scholarships for participants who need financial support to attend our Summer Research Institute in Garrison, New York. These travel scholarships, made possible due to generous support from the Hershey Family Foundation, are awarded to support more diverse and international participation. The travel scholarships will help to extend access for more scholars and bring fresh voices and perspectives into the field of contemplative sciences.
Applicants can apply for a travel scholarship during the online program application process. Please provide a 150-300 word statement that describes your need and interest in receiving a travel scholarship. Scholarship amounts will be determined by need and the cost and distance of travel to the Garrison Institute.
If you have any questions, please email

How To Apply

The application period runs from January 9 through February 20, 2017.
Required applications materials include:

  • A one-page personal statement describing your interest in the Mind & Life Summer Research Institute and its relevance to your career goals.
  • Your current CV.
  • For those applying as New Investigators: In addition to the personal statement and CV, please provide one letter of recommendation from a mentor or advisor.

For More Information

Please sign up to receive email notifications from Mind & Life, which include announcements about the Summer Research Institute. For specific questions, please contact