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John Templeton Foundation Approves Over $49 Million in New Programs

During the final quarter of 2020, the Board of Trustees of the John Templeton Foundation approved 31 funding requests with an approximate total value of over $49 million, the Foundation has announced. "The proposals we have approved show exceptional promise to benefit humanity by contributing to human flourishing," said Heather Templeton Dill, President of the John Templeton Foundation. "Like all the work we support, these projects aim to contribute new perspectives and ideas to subjects of profound importance. Such topics have included research on forgiveness, intellectual humility, and the origins of life, as well as projects that advance our strategic priorities…

Monthly Grant Report – March 2020

Recently Approved Grants Human Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Developing Belief: The Development and Diversity of Religious Cognition and Behavior: Phase 1 University of California, Riverside Rebekah Richert; Kathleen Corriveau $9,866,732 Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project Phase VI Pew Charitable Trusts Alan Cooperman $2,446,900   Philosophy and Theology Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Social virtue epistemology: What does it take to be an intellectually humble Socratic gadfly? Macquarie University Mark Alfano; Jay Van Bavel $797,870 The Launch of MA & PhD Degrees in Philosophy and the Foundations of Science for Latin America Asociación Civil de…

Monthly Grant Report – February 2019

Recently Approved Grants Human Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount What is Religious Experience? Validating and Testing the Inventory of Non-Ordinary Experiences University of California Santa Barbara Ann Taves; Michael Barlev $234,521 Using Self-Reported Religiosity/Spirituality to Predict Mental Health Outcomes and Biological Correlates Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. Myrna Weissman; Connie Svob $234,302 Project Amazing Grace Phase 2: Making Sense of Grace Biola University Peter Hill $234,779   Philosophy & Theology Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount When and Why We Explain: Need for Explanation and Tolerance for Mystery in Science and Religion The Trustees of…

Atheism and Unbelief

Towards a psychology and sociology of atheism and non-belief If the world’s estimated 1.1 billion atheists and non-believers were grouped together as their own “religion,” they would be the world’s third-largest, trailing only Christianity and Islam. Any serious psychology or sociology of religion must take into account the beliefs and experiences of non-believers — yet the scientific study of atheism and non-belief has lagged behind the study of religions, with varied forms of non-belief often relegated to being defined by what they aren’t rather than what they are. The John Templeton Foundation enthusiastically supports scientific research that touches on many…

The Evolution of Cooperation

Explaining the evolution of cooperation — one of life’s most common, complex, and paradoxical phenomena  It’s easy to take cooperation for granted. Children team up to complete a project on time. Neighbors help each other mend fences. Colleagues share ideas and resources. The very fabric of human society depends upon working together. Cooperation is also ubiquitous in the natural world: lions collaborate on hunts, flowers share nectar with bees, and even bacteria produce essential resources that benefit their neighbors. But cooperation goes beyond mere quid pro quo — mutual aid for mutual benefit — and also takes the form of…

Bringing Academic Ideas to the Public and the Myth of Overnight Success: October Monthly Grant Highlights

WATCH: What Makes an Honest Person? It May Be More Complex Than You Think.

 Honesty is intrinsically good. Society, by and large, appears to agree on this notion. We uphold honesty as an important virtue and extol its benefits — it helps us foster healthy relationships, strengthens organizations and communities, and promotes credibility and trust. We celebrate historical exemplars of honesty, like President Abraham Lincoln, and decry public displays of dishonesty, like those committed by Tiger Woods or Bernie Madoff. Why then, if honesty is so important and unanimously appealing, is it so often neglected by academic research? And how can we begin to study its many complexities? These are some of the…

WATCH: How to Make a Map of the Invisible

 You can’t see it, touch it, smell it, or taste it. It is like nothing else in the known world. It exists silently alongside ordinary matter, not interacting with it, but exerting a powerful effect. Its strange, almost imperceptible presence affects the very fabric of the cosmos—in fact, it holds creation together. Though it sounds like a concept out of Avicenna or Aquinas, this strange thing is an object of intense study in modern physics: dark matter. While deep mysteries remain, thanks to new methods and approaches—some of which stretch the boundaries of science itself—astronomers are peeling back the…

Faith: Is It Real If You Never Kneel?

Religious faith entails action, not just right belief Faith in anything requires action. We don’t just talk about our faith; we eventually have to step out onto the metaphorical bridge. Think of the ways we act out our faith in the context of relationships: When you trust your partner’s commitment, you don’t snoop through their emails. The same applies to personal safety. If you believe that an airplane will stay aloft in the sky, you board the flight. These daily choices are acts of faith, whether or not we think of them as such. What about religious faith? Is trust…

Can We Know God? New Insights From Religious Epistemology

Are religious beliefs rational? Is knowledge of God even possible? Are the evils we observe in the world evidence against God’s existence? Since the late twentieth century, epistemological questions of this nature have been central to the philosophy of religion. The work of two leading theistic philosophers, Alvin Plantiga and Richard Swinburne, divided the field of research into two distinct research programs. Broadly speaking, the debates between the two camps are representative of two larger positions in epistemology: internalism, according to which the rationality of beliefs is only determined by factors internally accessible to the believer; and externalists, according to…

August 2021: Monthly Grant Report

Recently Approved Grants Public Engagement Mathematics and Physical Sciences Natural Sciences Human Sciences Character Virtue Development Project Title  Science, Explored: Radiolab on Science and the Big Questions Establishing a Templeton LSST Early-Career Research Fellowship The Role of Cultural Evolution in Human Understanding Global Flourishing Study: Piloting and Waves 1-5 Validation and Unification of Love Measurement  Grantee(s) New York Public Radio LSST Inc Chancellor, Master and Scholars of the University of Oxford Baylor University The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  Project Leader(s) Suzie Lechtenburg Jennifer Sokoloski Geoffrey Bird, Caroline Catmur Byron Johnson, Tyler VanderWeele Sara Algoe  Amount $1,513,801 $6,970,779…

Foundation Approves Over $105 Million in New Programs

In June and July 2021, the Board of Trustees of the John Templeton Foundation approved 91 funding requests with an approximate total value of $105 million to support new programs. Learn more about recent projects we have funded that are now active. These include: Investigating how the arrow of time emerges from the building blocks of reality How and when children learn how to forgive Exploring the health effects of religion and spirituality The role that gratitude plays in long-term relationships Understanding the limits of our current knowledge Developing a global perspective on the philosophy of religion Addressing poverty in…

Video: The Neuroscience of Free Will

Watch our latest video, which features Chapman University computational neuroscientist Uri Maoz discussing the latest research into the enduring mysteries of free will. What does the neuroscience of free will reveal about how we make decisions, and what does that imply about our ability to consciously control ourselves and our future? Maoz is the leader of a major project backed by $5.3 million in funding from the John Templeton Foundation that sets out to test whether a robust understanding of free will can be backed by scientific evidence. Learn more on the latest research by reading this white-paper on the…

Foundation-Supported Researchers Win Nobel Prize and MacArthur Fellowship

Two researchers who have received support from the John Templeton Foundation were announced this week as winners of the Nobel Prize and the MacArthur Fellowship. Jennifer A. Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on developing a method for editing the genome. She received the award jointly with Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier of France. Doudna was the co-leader of a John Templeton Foundation-supported project to convene discussions among scientists, ethicists, and civil and religious leaders on the challenges and opportunities of gene editing and to develop “a set of common principles to…

Collaborative Inquiries in Christian Theological Anthropology

A new project will foster interdisciplinary work — informed by both science and theology — on what it means to be human Human flourishing and freedom are topics that have long been considered by theologians and humanities scholars, but recent work in the life and social sciences—on subjects ranging from how brains make decisions to how individuals develop virtues — is presenting some of those age-old topics in a new light. A new three-year, $3.9 million research project funded by the John Templeton Foundation and led by theologians Jesse Couenhoven at Villanova University, and Gerald McKenny and Neil Arner at…

Q&A: Five Questions with Jason Marsh

Jason Marsh is the executive director of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley, and the founding editor-in-chief of the center’s award-winning online magazine, Greater Good. The GGSC sponsors research into social and emotional well-being and provides resources to help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. Marsh was recently featured in TIME magazine’s “Apart. Not Alone” series responding to the COVID-19 crisis in a list of “27 People Bridging Divides Across America.” The GGSC has published an online Guide to Well-Being during Coronavirus, including advice about approaches for practicing character virtues…

Character, Virtue, Quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for nearly everyone around the world. Even for those whose homes are untouched by the coronavirus itself, daily life, work, and family rhythms have been disrupted. One of the John Templeton Foundation’s core interests is the ways that understanding and cultivating character and virtue can measurably improve human flourishing. Over the past several years, we have commissioned research reviews collecting insights and future questions around the topics — many of which seem especially relevant for the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the foreground. Generosity. From sewing handmade masks to help protect medical…

How Grantees Are Helping With COVID-19

Templeton Grantees Respond to the Coronavirus At the beginning of 1665, a deadly plague shuttered Cambridge University and sent a 23-year-old Isaac Newton back to his family estate. There, in relative seclusion, Newton thought and wrote and calculated — making breakthroughs in calculus, motion, optics, and gravitation. Newton’s annus mirabilis has become an oft-repeated (and at times embellished) chestnut in the history of science, but it gets at the truth that when the world is turned upside-down and many possibilities are foreclosed, others can open up.  Today, as then, tragedy, uncertainty, and massive shifts in the rules of everyday life…

Monthly Grant Report – December 2019 & January 2020

Recently Approved Grants Human Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Religious belief, health and disease: a family perspective. I. Data collection University of Bristol Jean Golding; Kate Northstone $234,800 Scholarship for International Faculty/Students to Attend Spirituality & Health Research Workshop Duke University Harold Koenig; Benjamin Doolittle $115,411   Natural Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Social Practices, Scientific Practice, and Human Evolution Wesleyan University Joseph Rouse $233,297   Philosophy and Theology Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Panentheism and Religious Life The Johns Hopkins University Yitzhak Melamed; Clare Carlisle $232,748 SCP Graduate Fellowships for Science…

Report Shows Key Role for Communication at Science Philanthropies

In a time marked by scientific discovery and technological advancement, a new report identifies a promising area for greater investment by science philanthropies: communication. The report, Identifying Best Practices for Communications Workforce at Science Philanthropies, was developed through a collaboration by the Rita Allen, Albert and Mary Lasker, and John Templeton Foundations to identify challenges and opportunities in science philanthropy communications. Philanthropy’s contributions are critical to advancing scientific research, providing essential support for new ideas and major initiatives. However, the report finds, science philanthropies can amplify their impact considerably by investing more purposefully in communications as a central part of…

Strategic Priority Q&A: Science of Virtues

This conversation is the third in a series of conversations about the Strategic Priorities that the John Templeton Foundation will be funding over the next five years. This interview with Sarah Clement, Senior Director, Character Virtue Development, was conducted and edited by Benjamin Carlson, Director, Strategic Communication. To get started, why don’t you share a little about your story – what brought you to the Foundation? What made you interested and excited about this place? I pursued a PhD in psychology because I was curious about human behavior and wanted to be able to have the skills to answer questions…

Monthly Grant Report – June 2019

Recently Approved Grants Human Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Knoxville Marriage Initiative: Partnering with churches to deliver science-based interventions to solve a community problem The University of Tennessee Kristina Gordon $234,800   Natural Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount The creative role of stress in evolution and development Yale University Gunter Wagner; Alan Love $886,152   Philosophy & Theology Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount What Breathes Fire into the Equations: The Metaphysics of laws of nature Rutgers University Foundation Barry Loewer $167,325 The Fine-tuning Argument: A Curated Bibliography The University of Mississippi Neil…

Physicist and Cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser Awarded Templeton Prize at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“Science is a flirtation with the unknown, a recognition that we know little of the world around us…” Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser was awarded the 2019 Templeton Prize at a ceremony Wednesday evening, May 29, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium in New York City. “Science is a flirtation with the unknown, a recognition that we know little of the world around us, which we can perceive only imperfectly,” Professor Gleiser said in his Templeton Prize address at the ceremony.  “Yet, as it embraces the quest for knowledge, it lifts the human spirit and…

Future-Mindedness

Great Expectations: New insights into how and why we think about the future What do you expect to be doing in five seconds? Five months? Five decades? Thinking about the future is a form of mental time travel at which humans are uniquely skilled. Psychologists call it prospection or future-mindedness, and some have argued it offers an invaluable framework for understanding topics ranging from perception, cognition, imagination, and memory to free will and consciousness itself. In a 2013 paper — later expanded into the book Homo Prospectus — University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman and co-authors Peter Railton,…

Marcelo Gleiser Wins 2019 Templeton Prize

MARCELO GLEISER AWARDED 2019 TEMPLETON PRIZE   WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA. – Marcelo Gleiser, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and a leading proponent of the view that science, philosophy, and spirituality are complementary expressions of humanity’s need to embrace mystery and the unknown, was announced today as the 2019 Templeton Prize Laureate. Gleiser, 60, the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has earned international acclaim through his books, essays, blogs, TV documentaries, and conferences that present science as a spiritual quest to understand the origins of the universe and of…

2019 Templeton Prize Laureate to be announced on Tuesday, March 19

FOR RELEASE: Monday, March 4, 2019     2019 Templeton Prize Laureate to be announced on Tuesday, March 19 49th winner of £1.1 million annual prize for spiritual progress   Event: Announcement of the 2019 Templeton Prize Laureate Date: Tuesday, March 19, 6:00 AM EDT (Philadelphia) / 10:00 hours GMT Venue: Online at www.templetonprize.org; via email to journalists; Twitter via @TempletonPrize; #TempletonPrize2019   The winner of the 2019 Templeton Prize will be announced on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:00 AM EDT (Philadelphia) / 10:00 hours GMT, online at www.templetonprize.org, via email to journalists, and on Twitter via @TempletonPrize. Valued at 1.1 million British…

Monthly Grant Report – January 2019

Recently Approved Grants Human Sciences Project Title Grantee(s) Project Leader(s) Grant Amount Tracking and Understanding the Effects of Transformative Events in People’s Lives Regents of the University of Michigan Rada Mihalcea; James Pennebaker $1,684,328 Systematic Review and Analysis of US Federal Investments in Research on Religion and Health University of Connecticut Crystal Park; John Salsman $234,207 The Third Religion, Economics and Society (RES) Initiative: Making the Economic Study of Religion and Religious Markets a Field of the Future Chapman University Jared Rubin $325,346 Divine forgiveness: Phase 1 Florida State University Research Foundation Inc. Frank Fincham $233,994 Religion and human flourishing…

An Education in Character: Building a New Curriculum to Teach Virtues to Future School Leaders

The ideal of a servant leader — one who focuses on the needs of others and guides through persuasion rather than the exercise of raw power — has been upheld by religious leaders and philosophers for millennia. Only recently, however, has it found its place in the sociological theory of leadership styles. Today, servant leadership is at the heart of a new program to help future educational leaders develop their own core virtues and learn to shape those of the institutions they will eventually lead. The program, funded with a recent $2.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation and…

The King and the Cathedral

Celebrating King Abdullah II’s call for Muslims — and others — to enact their love of God and neighbor Cathedrals don’t just happen overnight — they require of their planners, funders, and craftsmen a time horizon better suited for institutions than individuals, and a willingness to do one’s work without the guarantee of ever seeing the end result. The first proposal for the church that became the Washington National Cathedral was made in 1791, but it was more than a century before the builders laid the foundation stone. Its main sanctuary opened to the public in 1932. In 1990, nearly…

His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan Receives Templeton Prize

“Everything you honor me for simply carries onward what Jordanians have always done, and how Jordanians have always lived—in mutual kindness, harmony, and brotherhood” His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was awarded the 2018 Templeton Prize in the presence of ambassadors, Jordanian and U.S. government officials, and Washington political leaders, faith leaders, the media, and society at a ceremony Tuesday evening at Washington National Cathedral. “Today, I am truly humbled to be recognized by all of you. But let me say, everything you honor me for simply carries onward what Jordanians have always done, and how…

2018 TEMPLETON PRIZE CEREMONY TO HONORHIS MAJESTYKING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN

CONTACT: Donald Lehr – The Nolan/Lehr Group +1 (212) 967-8200 / mob +1 (917) 304-4058 dblehr@cs.com / www.templetonprize.org FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 .     2018 TEMPLETON PRIZE CEREMONY TO HONOR HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN   His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will receive the 2018 Templeton Prize in the presence of ambassadors, Jordanian and U.S. government officials, and Washington political leaders, faith leaders, and society on Tuesday, November 13, 7:00 PM, at a ceremony to be held at the Washington National Cathedral.  Admission to the ceremony is strictly by…

King Abdullah II of Jordan Awarded 2018 Templeton Prize

CONTACT: Donald Lehr – The Nolan/Lehr Group +1 (212) 967-8200 / mob +1 (917) 304-4058 dblehr@cs.com / www.templetonprize.org FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 6:00 AM EDT / 10:00 hours GMT     KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN AWARDED 2018 TEMPLETON PRIZE   WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA. – King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who has done more to seek religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions than any other living political leader, was announced today as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate. Known for his grace and humility, the King’s long quest to promote peace-affirming…

2018 Templeton Prize Laureate to be announced on Wednesday, June 27

FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, April 17, 2018   2018 Templeton Prize Laureate to be announced on Wednesday, June 27 48th winner of £1.1 million annual prize for spiritual progress   Event: Announcement of the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate Date: Wednesday, June 27, 6:00 AM EDT (Philadelphia) / 10:00 hours GMT Venue: Online at www.templetonprize.org; via email to journalists; Twitter via @TempletonPrize; #TempletonPrize2018   The winner of the 2018 Templeton Prize will be announced on Wednesday, June 27 at 6:00 AM EDT (Philadelphia) / 10:00 hours GMT, online at www.templetonprize.org, via email to journalists, and on Twitter via @TempletonPrize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds,…

2017 Templeton Prize Laureate to be announced on Tuesday, April 25

FOR RELEASE: Monday, April 10, 2017 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate to be announced on Tuesday, April 25 47th winner of £1.1 million annual prize for spiritual progress Event: Announcement of the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 8:00 AM EDT (New York) / 1:00 PM BST (London) Venue: Online at www.templetonprize.org; via email to journalists; Twitter via @TempletonPrize; #TempletonPrize2017 The winner of the 2017 Templeton Prize will be announced on Tuesday, April 25 at 8:00 AM EDT (New York) / 1:00 PM BST (London), online at www.templetonprize.org, via email to journalists, and on Twitter via @TempletonPrize. The…