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Some Statistics RE: explosion of research in Contemplative Sciences


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Hi all,

Through my work with the Mind and Life Institute, I kept some statistics on the number and types of grants that were being awarded in the area of contemplative science. I also kept track of publication records. Here are some of those statistics (through 2010) to give you a sense of where this field is coming from and the steep slope indicating where it may be going.

Allocation of Grants from NIH - keyterm "meditation"

Allocation of Grants from NIH - keyterm "mindfulness"

Allocation of Grants from NIH - keyterm "yoga"

Peer-reviewed Publications (through 2010)

Peer-reviewed publications as referenced by PubMed (through 2010) is indicated. Pubmed is a division of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health. It comprises more than 20 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. The dotted line indicates when the Mind and Life Institute’s Summer Research Institute began in 2004.

NIH Grant funding (through 2010)

The graph above represents the number of grants awarded by the NIH through 2010. The RePorter database reports data and analyses of NIH research activities


  1. Interesting to see how research using the term “mindfulness” (vs. meditation and yoga) seems to be pulling away from the pack. not sure how i feel about that… Anyhow, great analysis. thanks for posting this!


  2. Chris OBrien says:


    Thanks for this post. The growth is indeed amazing. We have seen similar growth levels, particularly in publications and follow-on funding from major funders, in our Francisco J. Varela Award Program. Thanks for the work you do!

    Development and Communications Officer
    The Mind & Life Institute


  3. Karl LaRowe says:

    This is very exciting! Are you aware of any research utilizing Qigong?


    • yes Karl. There has been some good research on Qigong and other movement-based contemplative practices.
      one recent review is:
      Jahnke, R., L. Larkey, et al. (2010). “A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi.” Am J Health Pro [Link]
      and one by Cathy Kerr:
      Kerr, C. E., J. R. Shaw, et al. (2008). “Tactile acuity in experienced Tai Chi practitioners: evidence for use dependent plasticity as an effect of sensory-attentional training.” Exp Brain Res 188(2): 317-22. [Link]


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