Launching the new International Research Network for the Study of Science & Belief in Society website!

Welcome to our new and exciting website, please read below about all of the exciting developments we’re launching over the coming months, and have a click around while you’re here.

In recent years, there has been an explosion of great scholarly work, which seeks to better understand and empirically explore people’s lived experience of science and religion in society. From in-depth historical studies that aim to add nuance to our understanding of the past relationships between science and religion, such as Prof. Peter Harrison’s The Territories of Science and Religion, to sociological studies, such as Science, Belief and Society: International Perspectives on Religion, Non-Religion and the Public Understanding of Science, edited by Stephen Jones, Rebecca Catto and Tom Kaden. While this work, much of it carried out by members of INSBS, has been the impetus for the foundation and growth of our network to date, there are still myriad exciting ways, areas, and lines of enquiry yet to be explored by scholars interested in how the relationship between Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths or Medicine (STEMM) and religion, non-religion and belief have, and continue to, intersect across societies and popular culture.    

The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society (INSBS) was founded in 2018 by a group of academics working across a number of different countries on various different social science and humanities approaches to studying the relationship between science and belief, religion, and non-religious worldviews in their societal setting.  Truly multidisciplinary in approaches the network already has members from a range of disciplines across the social sciences and humanities, including sociology of religion, psychology of religion, science and technology studies, sociology of health/medicine, media and cultural studies, social anthropology, politics, the history and philosophy of science/religion and religious studies. You can learn more about the network’s themes, aims and objectives here, and explore our rapidly growing membership via our new Research Directory.

While much of the original research of the network’s Core Project Team was focussed on the public understanding and acceptance of evolutionary science, and how this intersects with religion, personal faith, or other worldviews – the network quickly expanded to consider a vast range of issues situated at the nexus of STEMM and belief in societies across the world. From analysis of the media’s role in 21st century religion-science skirmishes, to studies exploring potential biases against Christians in academia the research undertaken by network members is at the forefront globally of a new multidisciplinary, pluralistic, and in-depth scholarship exploring science and belief in society.

With members from over 25 countries already, we are looking forward to growing the network further over the coming years, and diversifying even further the nationalities, disciplinary approaches and subjects studied by our membership. In particular the network aims to nurture the next generation of scholars working in this area, and seeks to increase the capacity for multidisciplinary research on STEMM and belief, in particular in regions without a tradition of research in this area.

Alongside our flagship annual conference, this year scheduled to take place in Stellenbosch, South Africa from 1-3 July, we will be running annual Early Career Researcher Workshops, an annual PhD summer school here in Birmingham, and a raft of sub-grant schemes that members can apply for to support their own events, pilots studies and research collaborations. 

We will also be posting new blog pieces on here every two weeks or so, if you would like to propose a post for the INSBS blog, please read more here.

So please do bookmark our website, join our mailing list, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and of course tell all of your colleagues working in this area about INSBS! We look forward to welcoming many of you to our conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa in July.*

Prof. Fern Elsdon-Baker, Dr Alexander Hall, Dr Carissa Sharp, and Dr Stephen H. Jones

(Academic Leads, International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society)

* The network team are closely monitoring the development of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and will be following the guidance of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the University of Birmingham. We will be keeping all conference participants informed of any developments, and would like to reassure our network members that we are taking the potential threat posed by the virus seriously.