"Plasticity and Change in Science and Society"

Welcome to the online registration site for the European Summer Research Institute (ESRI).

ESRI is an annual event bringing together around 120 scientists and practitioners in a unique retreat setting on an island in lake Chiemsee, Germany from August 22-28, 2016.

The 2016 ESRI edition is devoted to the theme of “Contemplative Training: from Physiological Plasticity to Societal Changes".

Drawing on research in both the sciences and the humanities, including neuroscience, psychology, clinical psychology, anthropology, philosophy, religion, and contemplative studies, this European SRI will investigate processes of change arising from mental training as practiced in the contemplative traditions. It will look at change particularly on a physiological level, in terms of neuroplasticity and epigenetics, but also more broadly in terms of philosophies of change, critical life periods of change, and societal change including work on fostering mindfulness and compassion in educational, work, and institutional contexts.



The European Summer Research Institute (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 open to all interested people. As the number is limited to about 120 participants, a selection process may be required to identify those, whose interests are best matched to the year's major themes.

Applicants have to self categorize into three categories: Research Fellow, Senior Investigator and Professionals.


Research Fellows

Trainees, including undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conducting research in neuroscience, biological and medical sciences, cognitive, affective, and other psychological sciences, clinical sciences, and humanities disciplines, will be considered “Research Fellows”. Students at the undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral level studying contemplative traditions, philosophy, or humanities will also be considered “Research Fellows”.

The registration fee for accepted Research Fellows is € 575,-.

Senior Investigators

Established academic researchers in these same areas who hold university or college faculty appointments (full-time, clinical or adjunct) at the level of Assistant Professor or above, as well as contemplative scholars, teachers or researchers within these same disciplines who hold a faculty or comparable position will be considered “Senior Investigators”.

The registration fee for accepted Senior Investigators is € 925,-.


Professionals (e.g. educators, clinicians, therapists, HR managers, change agents) who are independent practitioners or affiliated with non-academic institutions will also fall into this category. This includes people working in business and (social) entrepreneurship.

The registration fee for accepted Professionals is € 1.200,-.

The online application process will close on June 16th, 2016.
If you still like to apply, please email us: esri@mindandlife-europe.org

The online registration process for accepted applicants is open until July 1st, 2016!