about the foundation
why study consciousness?
The biological basis of consciousness is a primary scientific question. In a 2009 interview physicist and best-selling author Brian Greene offered his assessment of the three most important questions facing scientists at beginning of the 21st century: How did the universe begin? How was life initiated? How did consciousness emerge?
Greene’s three most important questions map neatly into the three San Antonio-based foundations that are Tom Slick’s legacy: Southwest Research Institute, focused on the physical sciences and technology; Texas Biomedical Research Institute, focused on life sciences and medicine; and the Mind Science Foundation, focused on neuroscience, psychology and mind.
Basic research addressing the great questions in the physical and life sciences have attracted attention and support from major foundations, universities, and government agencies. Less attention and resources have been devoted to the search for understanding the nature of consciousness, the great question of how the hardware of the brain creates the lived experience of the mind. The Mind Science Foundation has a unique role as the only philanthropic foundation with a primary purpose of promoting research advancing the scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness.
how does understanding consciousness elevate the human condition?
Understanding consciousness changes the way we understand and treat brain injuries and mental illness, and provides new insights into how the mind regulates health and well being.
Research supported by Mind Science Foundation has already contributed to recognition of a new diagnostic category, the minimally conscious state, where patients are able to retain awareness, although the capacity to communicate fluctuates. Each year, thousands of people are afflicted with disorders of consciousness, as a result of injuries, diseases, and accidents. Research on how consciousness is impaired following brain injury may eventually lead to new treatments to facilitate recovery, and new technologies for communicating with people who have suffered such injuries. Research on techniques for training consciousness, such as meditation, can deepen our understanding of relationships between mind and health.
Funding for consciousness research provides resources for investigators working on understanding the basic brain mechanisms that generate conscious awareness, as well as clinical scientists working on new approaches to studies of mind and self regulation in health and disease. The Mind Science Foundation can play a critical role in the process of knowledge translation, from basic science to applications that improve health and human happiness.
how are we funded?
We are a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation supported by a special endowment from our founder, visionary philanthropist and entrepreneur, Thomas Baker Slick, Jr. But to fully realize our strategic goals of sponsoring research at a meaningful levels of funding, and providing educational opportunities to translate that research for the public, we rely on tax-deductible contributions from individuals, corporations, and granting foundations. For more information on how you can support our work, visit our donation page.