INSBS Conference

STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism

Online conference, 7-9 July 2021

This conference took place from 7-9 July 2021 online.

The final programme can be found at the following Download link:


Included in the Programme are the following two plenary events. These are public lectures.

Intersectional Approaches to Diversity in STEMM: Belief, Culture, and Inclusion

The lack of diversity in STEMM fields has been a topic of interest among educators and policymakers for many years.  The overwhelming majority of research in this area, especially in Europe and North America, has focused on gender and race. There has been little research into or policy reflection on the under-representation of religious individuals in STEMM, as well as analysis of other cultural variables and intersectionality.  In order to address this absence, this public plenary panel discussion brings together a group of international speakers to talk about the role that religious and secular identities play in including and excluding people from science education and careers.

With contributions from scholars and scientists based in India, the United States, Netherlands and the UK, the panel with explore varieties of religious exclusion in different areas of science as well as in different national contexts. The event will also mark the launch of a new research hub dedicated to the study of these issues within the University of Birmingham, the Diversity in STEMM and Innovation Research Group.

In the last decade, there has been significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion and belief in society. Greater attention is being paid to the varied ways in which perceptions of different aspects of STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics) have been, or are, influenced by religious and non-religious belief, identity, community and conflict in different geographical, cultural and historical contexts.

Full details and joining instructions can be found here.

Science, Belief and Society in the Covid-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront many issues involving science, belief, and society.  Widespread narratives have revolved around the role of religion and belief affecting people’s attitudes towards health behaviours on local and global levels.  We bring together a group of international scholars to discuss issues such as vaccine hesitancy, (con)spirituality, communication by religious leaders and the relationship between science and religion in the health sector.

This event will mark the launch of the Science, Knowledge, and Belief in Society (SKBS) Research Group within the University of Birmingham’s Institute for STEMM in Culture and Society.  SKBS is a multidisciplinary research group whose work spans a diverse range of subjects including history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and education. We conduct and foster open-minded social scientific and humanities-based research on: the public understanding and communication of the relationship between science and religion; research into the sociology and psychology of religion; and the role of science, knowledge and belief in diverse societies. The research group is at the forefront of research both in the UK and internationally that looks in depth at the different roles that worldviews and religious or spiritual belief can play in our day-to-day lives. We explore the multi-layered social, cultural and psychological drivers to these contemporary and historical debates at the level of the individuals, groups, communities and societal narratives.

Full details and joining instructions can be found here.

Professional development sessions:

We are also including an ECR Meet-up and a PhD Meet-up within the programme.

If you are an Early Career Researcher or PhD candidate working in the field of science and belief in society, please come along to hear more about how you can engage with the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society.


CPD Sessions:

  • Writing a funding proposal 
  • Academic publishing in Science, Belief, and Society 
  • Public engagement/communication 

This conference will bring together international researchers with backgrounds in sociology, science and technology studies, psychology, political science, history, social anthropology, and related humanities or social science disciplines, to discuss perspectives on the overarching topic of science and belief in society. Due to constraints imposed by COVID 19, this conference will be entirely online. Sessions are being held throughout the day in order to enable people from different time zones to participate.

In the last decade, there has been significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion and belief in society. Greater attention is being paid to the varied ways in which perceptions of different aspects of STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics) have been, or are, influenced by religious and non-religious belief, identity, community and conflict in different geographical, cultural and historical contexts.

As this field of research has grown it has engaged in myth busting popular perceptions and stereotypes about the relationship between science and religion, which treat both science and religious/spiritual populations as monolithic. To date, much of this foundational research has focused on North American contexts or debates. This conference seeks to build on this essential work and address future avenues for research within the social scientific and historical study of science, religion and belief in society to examine the practical implications and applications of research in this field. Expanding the geographical focus, the conference will encompass a range of issues at global, or local levels around four interlinked areas:

  • PUBLICS: Diverse (non)religious publics’ engagement with, and perceptions of, STEMM
  • PRAXIS: Issues relating to religion and (non)belief in scientific research or STEMM communication practices
  • POLICY: Public policy analysis, exploring concerns with the development of, or implementation of, policy connected to STEMM, and religion or belief in society
  • PLURALISM: Research on STEMM in pluralistic or religiously diverse societies.