Many UK young people (under 18s) consider science and religious faith to be in conflict, with science fast replacing faith as the most important, reliable and relevant ‘way of knowing’. These misconceptions often stem from the way in which influencers and educators communicate. Notably, many influencers feel ill-equipped and lack time and confidence to engage in discussion of big science-faith topics with their young people. This leads to a lack of space for young people to explore these ‘Big Questions’ and a sense that such cross-curricular exploration is taboo or unimportant. The Faraday Institute Youth and Schools Programme (FIYSP) directly engages with around 3,500 young people each year, providing opportunities to consider science-faith interactions and ask their many big, cross-curricular questions such as ‘Where does everything come from?’, ‘What is the point of life?’ and ‘What makes me me?’. The team have also developed a range of professionally published resources supporting such exploration. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive and demand for events and resources exceeds the team’s current capacity. This project will integrate several new funding sources into an expansion programme drawing on established impetus to broaden the FIYSP’s reach and impact, finding the most effective ways to equip young people to explore their big science-faith questions. This will be achieved through the employment of three new half time team members and several constructively intersecting project strands: direct ‘intervention’ events for young people in schools and churches; UK and overseas influencer training events; purchase and development of new equipment, teaching and training resources; production of further published materials; and effective impact analysis. These activities will make a wider range of opportunities available to a wider range of young people and influencers, in the UK and beyond, to explore Big Questions in life and culture-changing ways.
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