Funding decisions announced in September

Over the past decade, the contemplative sciences have grown remarkably, generating new questions across a wide range of disciplines and sectors of society. Recognizing the need for small groups of specialists to convene in dialogue about a specific issue in order to deepen their collective insight and make significant impacts, we are pleased to offer the Think Tanks grant program.

Mind & Life Think Tanks are intimate, two- to three-day self-organized gatherings designed to advance a particular project or problem within the contemplative sciences. These incubator-type meetings bring together small groups of collaborators including scientists, scholars, humanitarian leaders and changemakers, contemplative practitioners, educators, and applied professionals. Strong proposals will demonstrate relevance to the Mind & Life mission, engage leaders and changemakers, have social and ethical relevance, and include diverse perspectives (ethnic, racial, gender, geographical, disciplinary, etc.). International applicants are encouraged to apply.

Grant Information

Grants of up to $15,000 (USD) are awarded annually through a competitive application and selection process; these funds support travel, accommodations and general organization of Think Tanks. The proposed work should be completed within a 2-year period, and progress reports are required for grantees to remain in good standing. Applications for the 2020 cycle open on April 1; grantees will be notified in early September. 

Evaluation Criteria

Applications are reviewed and selected by an external committee of experts based on the following criteria:

  • Significance and Impact: 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, resources are adequate, and deliverables are feasible
  • Participants: team members have appropriate background/training, include organizer and facilitator roles, and are committed to the project. Teams should represent a diversity of perspectives—disciplinary, institutional, geographic, ethnic, gender, and/or sector (e.g., academia, applied work, policy, etc.).
Reporting and Deliverables

Think Tank grantees must sign an agreement with Mind & Life to provide:

  • A one- to two-page summary report, due 2 weeks after the conclusion of the Think Tank
  • A full impact report including deliverables and outcomes, due 2 years after the Think Tank is awarded

Publications or other deliverables from Think Tanks must acknowledge support by the Mind & Life Institute. Outcomes, deliverables and insights from Think Tanks may be shared on the Mind & Life website and posted on social media to educate the public.


The Think Tanks program is meant to bring together leading thinkers, researchers, and changemakers from academia, professional sectors, and other applied arenas to catalyze creative advances within contemplative sciences. While there are no formal eligibility requirements in terms of degrees or experience, most successful applicants have strong track records in one of these areas, and propose to bring together a diversity of perspectives spanning research, theory, and application.

Think Tanks FAQ

Think Tank Grant Recipients

Think Tank Grant Guidelines (for funded projects)

Application Information

To apply, please submit the following materials through the online application portal, which will re-open in April 2020.

  • Think Tank Proposal, including:
    • 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)
  • Participants
    • Five committed participants/organizers (including applicant), with CVs and letters of support from each, confirming their commitment to the project
    • Invited participants (10–25 participants); teams should represent a diversity of perspectives—disciplinary, institutional, geographic, ethnic, gender, and/or sector (e.g., academia, applied work, policy, etc.). A minimum of three disciplines and three institutions must be included.
  • Estimated budget

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