European Summer Research Institute

The European Summer Research Institute (ESRI) is an annual event bringing together around 120 scientists and practitioners in a unique retreat setting on an island in lake Chiemsee, Germany.

ESRI provides a summer school/retreat environment where scientists, educators, professionals and researchers working in the field of contemplative science can assemble as a community to share ideas, experiences, and knowledge from their lives and work. With its unique format, the ESRI facilitates cross-disciplinary dialogue, and collaboration to advance the training of a new generation of interdisciplinary scholars and researchers.

Attendees of the ESRI are eligible to apply for the Francisco J. Varela Awards for Contemplative research. Click here for more information.

The ESRI is an intensive one-week programme featuring active contemplative practice, interdisciplinary scholarly presentations, poster sessions and networking. This week-long conference and quasi-retreat offers a unique format and opportunities for deep dialogue across disciplines, as well as inquiry through and learning from first-person experience. The faculty include basic scientists, clinical researchers, and contemplative practitioners, scholars, and teachers. The ESRI will be restricted to a maximum of 120 participants, as innovative and interdisciplinary scientific conversations and potential collaborations and new projects are more likely to develop successfully with a limited number of committed participants. Attendees are chosen through a review process.

Who should attend

The ESRI is dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and potential project collaborations, and thus is limited to 120 participants. A selection process will identify those whose interests are best matched to the chosen theme of the year.

Applicants should self-categorize into three categories: Research Fellow, Senior Investigator and Professional.


Research Fellows

Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conducting research in neuroscience, biological and medical sciences, experimental and clinical psychology, the social sciences and the humanities are considered as “Research Fellows”. Students and early-career researchers and contemplative scholars who work in the interdisciplinary field of contemplative sciences and scholarship are encouraged to apply in this category.


Senior Investigators

This category includes established academic researchers, contemplative scholars and educators who hold university or college faculty appointments (full-time, clinical or adjunct).



Professionals (e.g. educators, clinicians, therapists, HR managers, change agents) who are independent practitioners or affiliated with non-academic institutions apply in this category. This includes people working in business and (social) entrepreneurship. For more information, please email us: