European Summer Research Institute (ESRI)

The European Summer Research Institute (ESRI) is an event initiated by Mind & Life Europe bringing together around 120 scientists and practitioners in a unique retreat setting.

In 2019, following the ESRI tradition to support young scholars in the context of contemplative science, there will be a Mind & Life Europe Retreat in Fürstenfeldbruck (near Munich, Germany). The MLE Retreat takes place directly after the Contemplative Science Symposium 2019 in late October. Attendance of the Contemplative Science Symposium (CSS) is a prerequisite for the application to the MLE Retreat. The next ESRI will take place in 2020.


Cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration

ESRI is a summer school 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, ESRI facilitates cross-disciplinary dialogue, and collaboration to advance the training of a new generation of interdisciplinary scholars and researchers.


Unique format

The intensive one-week programme features active contemplative practice, interdisciplinary scholarly presentations and networking opportunities. The conference and quasi-retreat offers a unique format and plenty of 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.


Attendees of the ESRI are eligible to apply for the European Varela Awards for contemplative research. Click here for more information.


Who should attend

The ESRI fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and potential project collaborations, and thus is limited to 120 participants. A selection process identifies those whose interests are best matched to the annual theme.

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 visit the ESRI website or email us at esri(at)