Best Evidence for Afterlife

Essays will be judged by five renowned experts.

Essays must be received by 5 p.m. PST August 1, 2021.

Winners will be announced November 1, 2021.





2ND Place


3RD Place


About BICS

BICS was founded in June 2020 by aerospace entrepreneur Robert T. Bigelow to support research into both the survival of human consciousness after physical death and, based on data from such studies, the nature of the afterlife. Robert Bigelow is the founder of Bigelow Aerospace. For decades he has also supported serious investigations into consciousness and manifestations of unusual phenomena that are not yet understood by science.

Despite intriguing evidence, the number of research groups and funding devoted to investigating the survival of human consciousness beyond death is shockingly small in the Western world. Even though all 7.8 billion humans on planet Earth will eventually die, very little high quality research is being conducted on perhaps the most important and fundamental question facing our species.

There are almost no significant conferences or symposia on this question which could appeal to scientists, academics and others with advanced training. This is partly because such research is not taken seriously by the current scientific paradigm. It is probably time to end this close-minded approach. We at BICS believe that the only way to do so is to appeal to qualified professionals who have the power to create change.

The purpose of BICS is to raise awareness among the public and within the scientific community of the importance and relevance of such an investigation. BICS hopes to provide a public service by drawing increasing attention to, and encouraging research into, this fundamental and timeless topic. We are seeking hard evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that takes us beyond religion or philosophy and provides a body of knowledge to be brought widely into the public arena that could be unifying in its impact on human awareness and culture.

Purpose of BICS Essay Competition

The purpose of the BICS essay awards is to raise the public awareness for the Survival of Human Consciousness topic and to stimulate research. The goal of the essay contest is to award contestants for writing papers that summarize the best evidence available for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death.

BICS intention is to provide a public service by:
1. Creating and implementing the essay contest
2. Publishing responsible information to the widest audience possible and, if all goes well, proceed to a possible second contest
3. BICS envisions the essays focus to be on scientific evidence as well as objective and subjective supported documentation as gathered
  • From special cases, including older cases, from very credible witnesses
  • From photographic or electronic data
  • From all available literature
  • From highly validated and authenticated human experiences
  • From other relevant sources
  • BICS has assembled a competent board of directors with deep experience in the topic to provide advice on the strategic direction and priorities of the Institute. The board of directors are: acclaimed journalist and author Leslie Kean, forensic neurologist Christopher C. Green MD PhD, theoretical physicist Harold Puthoff PhD, Brian Weiss MD who has lectured worldwide on survival of consciousness and associated topics, Rice University Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought Jeffrey Kripal PhD, University of California Irvine Professor of Statistics Jessica Utts PhD, Anomalies Researcher and BICS Founder Robert T. Bigelow and Molecular Biologist and Anomalies Researcher Colm A. Kelleher PhD.


    Photo Max Spadafina, Max Video Productions

    Jeffrey J. Kripal

    Associate Dean of the Faculty,

    Rice University

    Jeffrey J. Kripal is the Associate Dean of the Faculty and Graduate Programs in the School of the Humanities and the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is also the Associate Director of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Jeff is the author of eight books, including, most recently, The Flip: Who You Really Are and Why It Matters (Penguin, 2020), where he envisions the future centrality and urgency of the humanities in conversation with the history of science, the philosophy of mind, and our shared ethical, political, and ecological challenges.

    Leslie Kean

    Investigative Journalist,
    Author and Researcher

    Leslie Kean is an independent investigative journalist. She is the author of the award-winning Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife (Crown Archetype, 2017) and UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record (Crown Publishing Group, 2010), a New York Times best seller. UFOs has been translated into eight additional languages and was the basis for a History Channel documentary. Kean is a consulting producer for the 2021 documentary series “Surviving Death”, a Netflix original based on her book. She coauthored a series of groundbreaking stories on UFOs, the Pentagon and the Navy for The New York Times from 2017 - 2020.

    Photo Robert Stewart Photography, Ltd

    Christopher C. Green, MD PhD

    Forensic Neurologist

    Kit worked for the Federal Government from 1969-1985 and was awarded the National Intelligence Medal for his work in forensic investigations. Currently, Kit applies his 40 plus year background in neurophysiology and forensic neurology with a new clinical focus using high-field brain MRI to determine the differential diagnoses of neurodegenerative disease and study the neural aspects of cognition. His particular clinical case studies relate to high performing persons sustaining injuries under stress. Kit has served on many government and private sector corporate boards and Chaired or served on over 40 Academies of Sciences Committees and Studies. He holds clinical appointments in the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State School of Medicine Departments of Diagnostic Radiology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and has since been in private medical practice.

    Brian Weiss MD

    Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry,

    Mount Sinai Medical Center Miami

    A graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, Brian L. Weiss M.D. is Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. He has also been on the teaching faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, University of Miami, and Florida International University. One of the world’s foremost authorities on past life regression therapy, Weiss’s bestselling books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Dr. Weiss conducts national and international seminars and experiential workshops as well as training programs for professionals.

    Jessica Utts

    Professor Emerita of Statistics,

    University of California, Irvine

    Jessica Utts is Professor Emerita of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine. After receiving her PhD in Statistics at Penn State University she spent 30 years as a professor and associate vice provost at the University of California, Davis before moving to UC Irvine. She also has held visiting positions at Stanford, University of Edinburgh and SRI International. Among her many honors, Professor Utts is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association (for which she served as 2016 president), the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the Association for Psychological Science. She is the author of three textbooks focusing on statistical literacy, and over 100 scientific papers on statistical methods and applications, most notable to parapsychology. She has appeared on CNN Morning News, Larry King Live, ABC Nightline, and ABC’s 20/20

    Dr. Harold (Hal) Puthoff

    President and CEO of EarthTech International, Inc.

    Dr. Harold (Hal) Puthoff is President and CEO of EarthTech International, Inc. (ETI), and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin (IASA). Earning his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1967, Puthoff's professional background spans more than five decades of research at General Electric, Sperry, the National Security Agency, Stanford University, SRI International, and, since 1985, as President of ETI and Director IASA. He has published numerous papers on quantum physics, lasers, space propulsion and human perceptual abilities, and has patents issued in the laser, energy, and communications fields. Puthoff regularly serves various foundations, corporations, NASA, and the Dept. of Defense as advisor on leading-edge technologies and future technology trends.

    Q. Is the essay contest open to everyone? A: The Essay contest application process is open to everyone, but you must be qualified to enter the competition. Everybody MUST submit an application to BICS that outlines their qualifications and experience. Based on the information that you submit in this application BICS will approve or reject your application. If you have not been approved by BICS, you cannot submit an essay.
    Q: How will I know if my application has been accepted? A: BICS will send you an email if your application has been accepted. If you have NOT been accepted, you will not hear from us.
    Q: When can I submit my application? A: You can submit an application to the BICS website January 25-February 28, 2021.
    Q: How long do I have to write and submit my essay? A: Once you receive approval by email, you have until 5:00PM Pacific, August 1, 2021 to submit your essay by email.
    Q: Can I mail my essay? A: No, we only accept essays submitted online.
    Q: When will winners be announced? A: November 1, 2021.
    Q: Can more than one author write a single essay? A: Yes, BICS accepts multi-author essays. All authors MUST be identified on the application form. All authors must sign the application form. For a multi-author essay, all authors must agree to share the prize money equally.
    Q: If I do not win, can I appeal? A: No you cannot appeal. The judges' decisions are final.
    Q: Can I submit an essay in French? A: No. All essay submissions must be in English, typed in 12 point font and must not exceed 25,000 words excluding references and footnotes.
    Q: Who owns the rights to my essay? A: Authors own the rights to their essays.
    Q: Can I submit a paper or a book chapter that I have already published as my essay? A: No. Essays must be original, unpublished and not submitted elsewhere. Authors are free to refer to, explain, analyze and cite their own previous work in their essays.

    Rules and Application

    1. Essay Application All Essay Competition Entrants must first apply to BICS.

    Prior to essay submission, each prospective entrant must submit this signed application by email describing their background and qualifications to receive BICS approval to enter the Awards competition (see #2 for more details).

    All applicants must sign releases to BICS for any and all media interviews and publicity. By signing this document applicants agree to make themselves available for media (TV, radio, newspaper, social media) interviews if their essay is declared a winner or a notable runner up.

    Only those entrants with approval from BICS will be eligible to enter the Essay Competition.

    Preliminary Applications must be received by BICS January 26-February 28, 2021. People who have been approved to submit an essay will hear from us on or before February 28, 2021. If you have not been approved, you will not hear from us.
    2. Essay Application Qualifications a. Applicants must provide evidence that they have investigated the topic of Survival of Human Consciousness after Death for 5 years or more. For multi author submissions, only one author must have 5 years’ experience in the topic while other authors can be less qualified. Evidence of investigation such as published papers, monographs, books or producers/directors of film or digital documentaries will be accepted. Embedded links to written or digital work will be welcome as part of the application.

    b. It may help if applicants are/were a member of relevant organizations for example Society of Psychical Research, Society for Scientific Exploration, American Society for Psychical Research, Institute of Noetic Sciences, International Association for Near Death Studies, Rhine Research Center, Windbridge Research, Parapsychological Association, Eternea, Center for Research on Consciousness and Anomalous Psychology (CERCAP), Koestler Parapsychology Unit (University of Edinburgh, Scotland), NUPES – Research Center in Spirituality and Health (Brazil) or be a staff researcher (including emeritus) in an accredited university in the world. Submission of curricula vitae is allowed.

    c. Applicant may be an ordained member of a religious order or group. Formal ordination, or membership in religious orders is relevant only if the affiliation relates to scholarly works in the body of the essay.
    3. Essay Question Each essay must address the following question:

    What is the best available evidence for the Survival of Human Consciousness after Permanent Bodily Death?
    4. Essay Submission Deadline Essays must be emailed to, and received by, BICS by 5.00pm Pacific time August 1, 2021.
    5. Judging a. Essays will be judged by a panel of five renowned experts.

    b. Judges’ decisions are final.

    c. Winners will be announced on November 1, 2021.

    d. All judging deliberations and inter-BICS discourse in any form are proprietary to BICS and will not be disseminated to candidates or to the public.
    6. Essay Formatting a. Essays must be in English, typed in 12 font, be up to 25,000 words not counting references.

    b. Each submitted essay must detail all citations and references of information sources and evidence. Paraphrasing other people’s work must be referenced.

    c. References must be numbered in the body of the text and arranged numerically in a reference section at the end of the essay. Footnotes are also acceptable. References can be in the styles of the writers, but should use the American Psychological Association Manual style for guidance and cite: Author(s), (Year) volume, page number(s) and book or journal title / publisher.
    7. Essay Guidelines a. Quoting sacred scripture is an expression of faith. For the purposes of this contest, faith is not sufficient and does not constitute evidence, although it may well inform or influence the specific argument and choice of materials used. Therefore scriptural quotations would not be accepted as evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, that is, they will carry no authority for the sake of this contest because they claim as much for the believer. Of course quotations from scholarly faith-based literature if relevant to experimental research of others, or non-evidentiary material is permitted [eg if related to case or subject of past research criteria being analyzed]. BICS understands that true (or veridical) evidence includes a combination of a wide variety of forms; scientific, experiential, witnessed, repeatable, anecdotal and otherwise persuasive far beyond rules of traditional evidence-based hypothesis tested research paradigms.

    b. All essays must be original, unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere. Authors are free to refer to, explain, analyze and cite, their own previous work in their essays.
    8. Copyright & Essay Publication Rights a. Authors retain all rights to their work.

    b. BICS reserves the right to publish the winning and notable runner up entries on this website, in a proceedings volume and in the media.

    c. Derivative publications in other media are permitted, if/as permitted by the publication’s rules.
    9. Beyond A Reasonable Doubt BICS encourages, and will accept, the inclusion of credible eyewitness and witness testimony as valid evidence for the Survival of Human Consciousness after Death. Eyewitness testimony is a bedrock for conviction by juries and judges in the United States and in International Court Systems. therefore BICS will accept evidence and eyewitness testimony supporting the legal requirement that establishes proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Application has to be downloaded, completed and signed. Please upload the application form on the submit section.

    Submit Your Application

    Please do not send Essays at this time. Please download, fill out, SIGN , and Attach Application before Submitting Form.

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