Grant Recipients

    European Varela Awards (EVAs)

    Neuroscientist, philosopher, and Mind & Life co-founder Francisco J. Varela (1946-2001) believed that contemplative training offered modern science novel methods for investigating the depth of human experience. In his vision, contemplative training such as meditation not only provided a new domain for scientific study, but also offered resources for advancing scientific models of consciousness, emotion, and cognitive processing.

    Named in his honour, the European Varela Awards (EVAs) are grants of up to €23,500 awarded annually to research scientists who have attended the European Summer Research Institute (ESRI). These grants fund scientific and scholarly examinations of contemplative techniques, with the ultimate goal that findings will provide greater insight into the mechanisms of contemplative practice and its application for reducing human suffering. See in the list below all EVA recipients and their research projects.

    Mind & Life Europe extends its sincere thanks to the Hershey Family Foundation for its support of this program. Mind & Life Europe also congratulates the awardees on their award and wishes them well in their work.

    2023 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Oytun AygünBreathe, Learns
    Dysco Lab, Paris8 University and Nanterre University, France
    Jie GaoTowards an engaged ethnography of Intersubjectivity in experience research through the design of a Collaborative Microphenomenology Modelling Tool
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
    Nona KiknadzeThe Adapted Science of Flourishing for Young Adults: A University-based Mixed Methods Flourishing Intervention Emphasizing Diversity
    University of Miami, Miami, USA
    Karin Matko & Heena KambleWho practices what and why? A Global Exploration of Meditators
    University of Medicine Greifswald, Germany and India
    Alejandra Vásquez-RosatiMovement and the experience of emotions through the Cognitive-Corporeal Integration Method
    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Villarrica, Chile
    David ZarkaImpact of mindfulness on sensorimotor control and learning: does meditation practice improve the integration of proprioceptive information?
    Free University of Brussels, Belgium
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2022 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Donagh ColemanTukdam, cultural bodies, and questions of consciousness
    University of California, Berkeley, USA
    Jo HolmbergDisentangling the roles of psychopathy and equanimity in resilience: cross-cultural study in UK-migrant and UK-domestic populations
    Brunel University London, London, UK
    Rocio Martinez VivotImpact of a multimodal school program on social relationships, emotional, attentional and physiological stress regulation in children presenting multiple adverse childhood experiences
    Argentinean Natinal Council for Research and Technology (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Hamed MohammadiImpact of mindfulness meditation on the modulation of the sensory and affective dimensions of pain by expectations and uncertainty: a bayesian modeling approach of intracortical EEG and behavioral measures
    Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, INSERM, Lyon, France
    Nicolas PellerinSelf-transcendence and happiness in spiritual vs. secular contexts
    University of Nimes, Nimes, France
    Christopher TimmermannA neurophenomenological investigation of ego-dissolution induced by 5-MeO-DMT and different meditation practices 
    Imperial College London, London, UK
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2021 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Omer Dar Cultivating Internal Attention Through Intensive Mindfulness Training
    University of Haifa, Mount Carmel Haifa, Israel
    Milan ScheideggerMindfulness and Psychedelics: A neurophenomenological approach to characterizaton of DMT-induced transformative experiences in long-term meditators 
    University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    Anna Ciaunica Walking with my Heart: Examining the Effect of Dynamic Real-Time Sensory Feedback of Bodily Movements and Heartbeats on the Sense of Self and Sense of Presence in Depersonalisation
    University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal 
    Anam Saifullah What Captures Your Attention? The Effects of Mindfulness on Attentional Capture and Attentional Blink with and without Emotion 
    Brunel University London, Middlesex, United Kingdom
    Aude CardonaThe Motor Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Voice Production 
    University of Delaware, Delaware, USA
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2020 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Constanza BaquedanoA Mindful Mental Vaccine for the Neuromarketing Virus? Assessing the Protective Effect of a Brief Mindful Instruction to Prevent Desires Generated by Advertising in the Food Domain
    Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile 
    Prisca BauerPRESENCE Prodrome Recognition in Epilepsy and its Neurophenomenological Correlates
    Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Germany
    Ema DemšarTowards the Neurophenomenology of Dreaming: Developing and Employing a Novel Interview-Based Research Format for Acquiring Reports on Lucid and Nonlucid Dream Experience
    Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
    Jonas MagoPracticing Plasticity: How Collective Rituals Promote Neuro Cognitive Flexibility
    McGill University, Raetzlingen, Germany
    Shannon MaloneyEffectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – ‘Taking it Further’ (TiF) Programme Compared to Waitlist Control in the Promotion of Well-being and Mental Health: A Randomised Controlled Trial with Graduates of MBCT and MBSR
    University of Oxford, United Kingdom
    Betül TatarBringing Brief Mindfulness Instructions into Daily Life Encounters with Food
    University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2019 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Tatiana de Castro Amato LocatelliThe FO-CO Programme: Development of Contemplative Practices and Scientific Assessment Plan
    UNIFESP/NEPSIS, São Paulo, Brazil
    Click here to read the e-book
    Jonathan HamiltonUsing Sustained Mindfulness Training to Change Brain Functioning in Patients with Persistent Depression
    University of Surrey, United Kingdom
    Catherine JuneauInvestigating the Relationship between Equanimity and Automatic Emotional and Motivational Reactions
    LAPSCO Université Clermont Auvergne, France
    Léa MartinonRealtime Neuroimaging of Mental States: Enhancing Wellbeing by Shifting Individuals’ Mode of Self-Consciousness
    LAPSCO Université Clermont Auvergne, France
    Lena RamstetterMeeting Global Challenges from the Inside Out: Tracing the Effects of Mindfulness on Climate Change Attitudes and Actions
    University Salzburg, Austria
    Julio Rodriguez LariosIntegrating Brain, Body and Phenomenology to Investigate Mind Wandering Eposides During Breath Focus Meditation: An Experience Sampling Study with Mindfulness Practitioners and Novices
    KU Leuven, Belgium
    Mareike SmolkaTracing Collaborative Reflection Moment-To-Moment: Bringing Science & Technology Studies to Contemplative Science and Vice Versa
    Maastricht University, the Netherlands
    Kim Lien van der SchansThe Dynamics of Mindful Conflict in Romantic Relationships
    Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2018 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Corina Aguilar-RaabThe Enhancement of Compassion in Burdened Couple Relationships and Its Impact on Immune-FunctioningUniversität
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Filip Van DroogenbroeckCompassionate Attitude Training in a Challenging School Context in Brussels – An Effectiveness Study Assessing the Impact on Well-Being, Prosocial Attitudes and Behavior, And Socio-Psychological Attitudes Concerning Prejudice
    Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
    Mike KeesmanCompassionate Attitude Training in a Challenging School Context in Brussels – An Effectiveness Study Assessing the Impact on Well-Being, Prosocial Attitudes and Behavior, And Socio-Psychological Attitudes Concerning Prejudice
    Leiden University, the Netherlands
    Heather McDonaldTurning the Curse into a Blessing: Using Mindfulness to Reduce Suspiciousness and Paranoia in Individuals with High Positive Schizotypy
    Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, United Kingdom
    Ciaran TobinTibetan Mind Science and Western Mental Health: A Cultural Congruence Framework
    University College London, United Kingdom
    Anthony TuckwellThe Differential Effects of Attention and Insight Meditations on Economic Decision-Making: Evidence on Four Behavioural Biases from a Randomised-Control Trial
    University of Warwick, United Kingdom
    Sebastjan VörösLaying Down a Path in Walking: The Life-Worlds of Francisco Varela
    Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2017 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Oussama AbdounInvestigating the Deconstructive Effects of Open Presence Meditation on Neural Representations of Perceptual Objects and Bodily Signals Using Magnetoencephalography
    INSERM UMR 1028 Lyon, France
    Michelle CarrDream Work, Dream Yoga: A Comparative Neurophenomenological Study of Intentional Practices for Healing Nightmares
    Swansea University, United Kingdom
    Liudmila GamaiunovaEffects of Two Different Meditation-Based Programs on the Dynamics of Stress Response
    Institute of Social Sciences for Contemporary Religion (ISRRC), University of Lausanne, Switzerland
    Annika LübbertAssessing the Subjective Experience of Engaged Interaction: How Asking Questions About Experience Influences Experience and Behavior in the Mirror Game, an Interactive Coordination Task
    Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (Germany)
    Patricia MilzDo Personality Traits and Brain Electric Activity Predict How Meditation Affects Individuals’ Psychological and Physical Well-Being? – A Combined Electrophysiological and Mobile App-Based Experience Sampling Approach
    The KEY Institute for Brain-Mind Research, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zurich, Switzerland
    Willeke RietdijkA Micro-Phenomenological Exploration of Vipassana and Shamatha Meditators’ Experiential Shifts Into Deeper Meditation
    University of Southampton, United Kingdom
    Frank SchumannMindful Movement and Skilled Attention: Quantifying Changes in Spatial Awareness Induced by a Mindful Sensorimotor Intervention Based on the Feldenkrais Method
    School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2016 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Gabriel Axel MontesElicitation Interviews as a Contemplative Intervention: Insights from Stroke into Body Ownership and Agency
    University of Newcastle, Australia
    Carlos Garcia Rubio and Catherine AndreuThe Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Neural Correlates of Executive Functions in Elementary School Children: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial
    Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Chile
    Britta HölzelIs the Neural Signature of Emotion Regulation following a 2-Week Mindfulness Intervention in Chronically Depressed Patients Characterized by Positive Fronto-Limbic Connectivity?
    Department of Neuroradiology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany
    Barbara JachsThe Neurophenomenology of Meditative States: Integrating Neural Markers of Consciousness with Dimensions of Subjective ExperienceConsciousness and Cognition Lab/ University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Gesa KappenThe Effect of an Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Partner Acceptance and Relationship Quality
    Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
    Anna ReebsMindfulness and Refugee Mental Health: Cross-Cultural Contemplative Science with a Social Mission
    IRCA, University of Haifa, Israel
    Michael Tremmel and Freya von HohnhorstRisks and Adverse Effects of Meditation
    University of Giessen, Germany
    Click here to read the abstracts!

    2015 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Katarzyna Bylow-AntkowiakSecond Person Issues in Contemplative Life – Polite Talk, Teasing and Debating Dyads in a Tibetan Buddhist Non-Monastic Educational Setting
    University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Anira EsrichsInterplay between Structural Connectivity and Resting-State Dynamics in Meditators
    University of Barcelona, Spain
    Enrico FucciInvestigating Modulation of Compassion by Self-Related Factors in Expert and Novice Meditators: Behavioural and Neuroendocrine Correlates
    Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre, France
    Emily HammondInvestigating the Impact of Mindfulness Practice on Embodied and Subjective Dimensions of Emotion Dynamics
    University of Exeter, United Kingdom
    Josipa MihicTowards Caring & Mindful Schools Model
    University of Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Croatia
    Anne Maj van der VeldenMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and maintenance antidepressant treatment: differential mechanisms in the treatment of recurrent depression
    Aarhus University, Denmark
    Nina VollbehrThe Effects of Yoga-Based Therapy for Patients with Chronic Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Trial
    Center for Integrative Psychiatry, Lentis Mental Health Care, Groningen, The Netherlands

    2014 European Varela Awards (EVAs) Recipients

    Corina Aguilar-RaabThe Effects of Compassion Meditation on Health and Social Interaction in Depressed Patients
    Institute of Medical Psychology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany
    Tim GardAssessing Resilience of Brain Functional Networks and Fluid Intelligence in Aging editators: A Combined TMS-fMRI Study
    Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
    Bergljot GjelsvikA Translational Approach to Short-Circuiting On-Going Suicidal Vulnerability: Understanding Brain Mechanisms of Action
    University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry, United Kingdom
    Terje SparbyVarieties of Contemplative Experience: Anthroposophy
    Bender Institute of Neuroimaging/University of Giessen, Germany

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