Esther Thelen Research Fund

The Importance of Research

Established 2005

Esther Thelen, Ph.D., GCFPCM (1941–2004) was a developmental psychologist and Director of the Infant Motor Development Laboratory at Indiana University from 1985 to 2004. She is known worldwide for her contributions to the understanding of the developmental processes from a dynamic systems theoretical perspective. She was committed to dialogue across disciplines with practitioners, policymakers, and the public to shape scientific inquiry and translate the resulting knowledge into practices that make positive changes for individuals and society. During the last decade of her life, the Feldenkrais® community became an important vehicle for expressing this commitment.

Dr. Thelen facilitated and contributed to several important exchanges among researchers and Feldenkrais practitioners which increased our profession’s interest in and understanding of the important role of research.


The objective of this fund is to reflect Dr. Thelen’s commitments to principled scientific inquiry, professional and personal development, and translational actions that foster societal change.


Monetary donations in any amount can be made to this fund




  • May be awarded for events or actions that bring together scientists and scholars, Feldenkrais practitioners, other professionals, policy makers, and the public for dialogue that facilitates improvement in the function and quality of individual lives and society.
  • May be awarded for research projects that help:
    • To understand the origins of novelty
    • To integrate developmental data at many levels of explanation
    • To provide a biologically plausible yet non-reductionist account of the development of behavior
    • To understand how local processes lead to global outcomes
    • To establish a theoretical basis for generating and interpreting research
  • To apply please contact us.
esther thelen