Since its inception, one of the central goals of the Mind & Life Institute has been to establish and support the growing field of contemplative studies. By funding novel research and convening academic scholars across disciplines to explore the potential mechanisms, benefits, and applications of contemplative practices to promote human flourishing, we have served as the hub of a rich and expanding network of scientists, humanists, and applied professionals in this field.

Over the last decade, the field of contemplative studies has grown substantially and new sub-fields are becoming established. There is now a need for smaller groups of scientists, scholars and those involved in applied fieldwork and policy to come together and dive deeper into specific issues.

Program Details

To deepen this effort and encourage greater impact, we are pleased to offer a new mechanism of support: the Mind and Life Think Tanks program. Mind and Life Think Tanks are intended to be 2- to 3-day events that bring together small groups of scientists and scholars across disciplines to collaboratively explore an idea relevant to contemplative studies (generally between 10-30 people). The group should also include others who are involved in applied fieldwork or policy related to the phenomenon and/or setting of interest.

The purpose of each Think Tank will be to incubate or advance a particular project area in relation to one or more of the following (including, but not limited to): research measures and methods, theory development, philosophical understanding, or evidence-based applications and/or policy.

Clear outcomes and deliverables (e.g., manuscript, book, conference, grant proposal, collaborative project, etc.) with timeline must be identified at the outset of the Think Tank and later supported by progress reports and related documentation.

Successful applicants will be granted up to $10,000 to support travel, accommodation, meals, and other expenses related to the gathering. Think Tanks must be externally organized by the applicants.

Members of the Mind and Life staff and Steering Council may also participate in the funded Think Tanks.


Applications will be reviewed twice per year—June 1 and December 1—with decisions made within eight weeks of the deadline. Up to six Think Tanks will be supported each year.

Apply Online

Successful applicants must sign an agreement with Mind and Life and agree to provide progress reports with a summary and deliverables of the Think Tank for two years following the gathering. Publications or other productions from the Think Tanks need to acknowledge support of the Mind & Life Institute. Outcomes, deliverables, and insights from Think Tanks will be shared through the Mind and Life website and social media channels as a way to educate the public about this field.

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