RENSEP’s mission is to promote and advance the interdisciplinary and comparative study of esoteric practices from a global perspective, foremost through its online platform that allows theoretical and practical researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines to meet and exchange their analyses and interpretations of esoteric practices from an open-minded, data-based, apolitical, and non-ideological perspective. Besides this online platform, RENSEP provides funds for the study of esoteric practices, e.g., for queries and other forms of data-collection, for building databases, for organising conferences and workshops, for awarding short-term (e.g. travel) grants as well as longer-term PhD fellowships, for supporting related network initiatives, or for financing relevant publication projects. RENSEP’s research agenda is multidisciplinary , yet it has a particular focus on the core disciplines of the history of religion, anthropology, psychology (including the cognitive science of religion as well as neurosciences), and arts.

Priorities for 2023

2023 will be the first year of RENSEP’s scientific activities and funding scheme, hence its priorities lie on projects that (a) strongly correspond to and exemplify RENSEP’s research agenda; (b) have a strategic component in that they enhance RENSEP’s collaborations with pivotal research partners (e.g., HHP, CAS-E, Rice); (c) fill current gaps in scholarly research on esoteric practices, thus heightening RENSEP’s perceived academic value and reputation; (d) stretch and transcend common boundaries of research into esoteric practices by engaging with topics that university-funded research tends to avoid, and by establishing strategic collaborations with practitioners for the co-production of knowledge on esoteric practices; and (e) have an extraordinary or unusual scope, thus heightening public perception and awareness of RENSEP. In general, as funds are limited, RENSEP’s approach should invest in projects where minimal funds may yield the greatest outcome.