Equipping and supporting the next generation of Christians in Science: Overview of the new grant
Christians in Science (CiS) has recently been awarded a grant of ~£500,000 from the Templeton Religion Trust entitled “Equipping and supporting the next generation of Christians in science”. The overall aim of this new grant is to facilitate the development of a new generation of Christians in the sciences, including the future writers, speakers and policy makers on issues involving the interface between science and religious faith. To achieve this aim it is critical that science / faith issues are addressed effectively during the formative years of University and early career. This will require the equipping and training of young scientists to engage effectively with emerging areas at the interface of science and religion and the provision of practical support and advice. The new three year grant will provide us with the resources to carry out a new programme of activities (see below) directed towards these goals, and includes the salary of our Development Officer and half the salary of a full-time Executive Officer. The latter is a new post that has become essential as our expanding work brings with it an increasing administrative load.
In practical terms, the new grant will enable us to:
- Establish and resource student CiS groups in the major university cities whose role will be to support Christian Science students and assist them in mounting events that engage with the wider student population. These groups will be launched by hosting a lunch to which all leaders of University Christian Unions and other Christian organisations will be invited together with local Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) staff workers and leaders of student-oriented churches. We are delighted that UCCF is keen to partner us in this work.
- Provide bursaries to support attendance of UCCF staff workers and local church student leaders at appropriate Science and Religion teaching and training events.
- Sponsor attendance of students and early career scientists at science / faith conferences, workshops and training courses and at an annual student conference.
- Provide practical opportunities to develop writing and communication skills including producing a student CiS magazine (Connect), enhancing our annual essay competition for Students and early career scientists, and encouraging and facilitating students and early career scientists in writing journal articles and book reviews, giving talks and presenting conference papers.
- Ensure a CiS presence at Christian conferences with a large student and young professional clientele including advertising in conference brochures
- Explore and commission new ways of communicating Science Faith issues to the younger generations including improved access to CiS resources via mobile devices using an adaptable web-interface and CiS App.
- Develop better ways of retaining and nurturing student members of CiS beyond their student days as they transition to early career scientists. A key to this will be the establishment of a “mentoring” scheme that links Christians in their early scientific careers with mature Christian scientists who can encourage and guide their future career development as both Christians and scientists.
In the longer term our hope and prayer is that these activities will result in:
- Teaching that respects both mainstream science and biblical scholarship becomes integral to the life of Christian Unions and church student groups.
- An increased number of students and early career scientists as active CiS members.
- A new generation of confident and competent speakers on science and faith who can tackle new issues as they arise.
- More articulate and informed Christians in senior academic and industrial positions, Professional Societies and Academies, the media and as members of government science / ethics advisory panels.
If you want further details of any aspect of the proposed work, please contact the CiS Development Officer, Emily Sturgess