Research Funding

Mind and Life Contemplative Studies Fellowships

Applications due January 15, 2013


One-year grants are offered to humanities and social science scholars to support research that brings fresh perspectives from the humanities into contemplative neuroscience and contemplative clinical science.

The Mind & Life Institute, with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, invites Contemplative Studies Fellowship grant applications that emphasize the role of the humanities or social sciences in deepening our understanding of contemplative practices in all their aspects. The term “contemplative practice” is meant in a broad sense, including a wide range of diverse phenomena such as prayer, meditation, fasting, prostration, yoga, and tai chi. All successful proposals will engage contemplative neuroscience and contemplative clinical science in some meaningful way. Such engagement can be through direct collaboration with scientists, but need not be. In projects where scientists are not on the research team, the proposal should identify how the project is relevant to the scientific study of contemplative practices. The strongest proposals will focus on approaches that emerge from the humanities or social sciences and will be led by (or include) scholars trained in those areas. Applications that propose purely scientific studies will not be considered.

The MLCSF grant program has two complementary strands. Strand One is for projects that involve new kinds of scholarly reviews and critical analyses of scientific research on contemplative practices. The many possible projects under this rubric would include, for example, an in-depth study of the methodological and cultural assumptions that underlie clinical research on mindfulness. Strand Two projects foster partnerships between scientists and scholars in the humanities or social sciences with the goal of developing new interdisciplinary methods and richer approaches. A project in this strand might combine, for example, an anthropological study of a particular contemplative practice with scientific research on that practice’s effects.

The funding structure for the MLCSF follows the guidelines of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), where awards are based on rank so as to facilitate sabbatical leave for humanities-based scholars. Sabbatical leave, however, is only one way for funds to be used, and the selection committee also welcomes proposals that seek to use the funds in other ways to support the proposed research.

Applications due January 15, 2013.

For further information go to .

The Mind & Life Institute is a non-profit organization that seeks to understand the human mind and the benefits of contemplative practices through an integrated mode of knowing that combines first person knowledge from the world’s contemplative traditions with methods and findings from contemporary scientific inquiry. Ultimately, our goal is to relieve human suffering and advance well-being.

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