Working in collaboration across the University of Birmingham’s Department of Theology and Religion, School of Psychology, and Institute for STEMM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine] in Culture and Society, this project will deliver two fellowship programs for Christian theologians. These programs will include intensive cross-training on foundational psychological research and methods, as well as the latest psychological research addressing two of JTF’s current interests: “how humans conceive of and think about divine realities” and “the relationship between religion and human flourishing”.
Fellows will implement the skills and knowledge gained through networking, training, and mentoring activities by undertaking small scale science-engaged theology research projects with a psychologist mentor. In addition, the team will conduct research investigating potential or perceived biases/hesitancies for theologians engaging with psychology, thus enhancing our understanding of the benefits and challenges of engaging in science-engaged theology and further enabling future development of cross-disciplinary training and research.
Outputs include: 30 fellowships over two cohorts (each including two residential workshops, 12 monthly online training sessions, a small research project delivered in collaboration with a mentor, and at least one scholarly output); a website including researcher directory; 24 blog posts; six public-facing publications; one special edition journal; at least one journal article from the empirical research project; one three-day capstone conference for all fellows and their mentors; and publicly available resources drawing on the project workshop content. This project addresses all four priorities of the RFP by building researcher capacity in science-engaged theology, assisting with community building and research field development, creating publicly available content for future cross-training, and seeding research projects in science-engaged theology.