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 20 August - 26 August, 2018.


The theme for the 2018 ESRI edition is 'Kinship, Conflict and Compassion'. The narrative arc for this topic begins with the evolutionary story about the development of a capacity for a kind of high-level cooperation that is probably unique to humans. This capacity for an emergent, distributed cognitive cooperation also requires that the ability to connect with others is favored in human evolution. That ability to connect, however, also comes with a tendency to create an “other”, and thus in-group/out-group distinctions are also a product of this evolutionary process. These distinctions, as we experience them now, often create biases and conflict, and this raises the question of how we can overcome the negative aspects of the in-group/out-group distinction while enhancing our cooperative connectivity. The arc of topics thus includes cooperative/distributed cognition and social connectivity as evolutionary developments; the role of in-group/out-group distinctions, in terms of both facilitating cooperation and creating conflict; and the ways that we can transcend conflict and enhance healthy connections through various approaches, including contemplative training.

Joining ESRI

The 2018 ESRI invites researchers and practitioners in neuroscience, the clinical and social sciences and the humanities to participate in interdisciplinary dialogue with contemplative scholars and practitioners. It aims to deepen the understanding of each approach and to foster cross-fertilisation between them.

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

The 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.

For any questions, please email us: