INSBS 4th Annual Conference

Wednesday 12th July 2023 — Friday 14th July 2023
(Feature Image: University of Exeter)

4th Annual Conference, 12-14 July 2023,
University of Exeter (UK) and Online (hybrid conference)

The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society has been at the centre of the recent significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion, and belief in society. Following our successful hybrid conference in 2022, this 4th annual conference of the network will continue the hybrid in-person and online format.

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 and vital research has aimed at empirical description. 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 develop ways of theorising the complex relationships between science and religion in their varying global manifestations that have been identified and to further understand the practical implications and applications of research in this field.

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.

We have invited submissions of papers that relate to any aspect of STEMM in society (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics), that discuss any religious, spiritual or non-religious tradition, position or worldview.

Abstracts invited to the conference relate to the following themes:

  • Public engagement with STEMM in pluralistic or religiously diverse societies;
  • The social scientific and historical study of the relationship between science and religious and/or non-religious belief and identity;
  • Public perceptions of the relationship between science, religion and non-religion and their respective roles in society; 
  • National and international comparative perspectives on the study of science, religion and belief in society;
  • Past and present media or popular representations of science, religion and belief in society;
  • The past or present roles of science, rationalism, religion and belief in national, social or cultural identity and related geopolitical narratives;
  • Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of science, religion and non-religion in society;
  • Methodological approaches to, and issues in, the study of science, religion and belief in society;
  • Studies on the impact of publics’ views on science and religion on policy making, and provision for religious, spiritual or non-religious communities across a range of geographies and issues (e.g. healthcare provision, educational policy, science policy, environmental policy or development).
  • Religion and inequalities in access to science and technology, including the intersections between religious and racial, ethnic, class and/or gender inequalities.

Individual or panel session submissions may cross over several of the themes listed above, and those intending to submit papers are encouraged to consider the relevance of their work to other academic disciplines. (Please note, the deadline for submissions has now passed)

Conference Format
We encourage speakers and attendees to attend the conference in-person if they are able to and feel comfortable doing so. However, we acknowledge the on-going impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inequitable constraints it has imposed. Therefore, the conference will continue to use a hybrid format, that combines in-person presentations at the University of Exeter, UK, with limited online contributions by those unable to travel due to ongoing restrictions and health concerns.

The conference will be run in line with any UK COVID regulations as they stand in July 2023, and will adopt best-practice regarding health and safety of attendees on-site.  

The draft programme and abstract booklet for the conference can be found below:

Please note that as in prior years, we will be running an in person, fully-funded early career workshop in the days prior to this conference (10-11 July), details of which will be shared on our mailing list and the Events tab of our website.

We have bursaries available to support both in-person and online attendance (see below). If you have any questions or concerns about access or the conference format, please email

Expressions of Interest for Non-speaking Attendees

The deadline for speaking registration is now closed, however we have opened an Expressions of Interest (EoI) for in-person non-speaking attendees to join us at the 4th Annual Conference of the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, being held at University of Exeter from 12th – 14th July.

We have a limited number of places available which will be issued to those whose interests and research background most align with the aims of the network. There is no registration fee, and lunches, dinners, and refreshments will be provided during the conference itself. Non-speaking delegates are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation at the conference. As spaces are limited, please do not book your accommodation or travel until you have received confirmation of your place from the INSBS team.

To express interest in attending as a non-speaking delegate please complete the following online form by 2nd June

***If you are already registered as a speaking participant, you can ignore this announcement, and do not need to complete this form***

Conference Costs and Bursaries for Speakers
This conference is funded by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, as part of a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. Please note that for all successful speaking applicants, accommodation and registration costs will be covered by this grant. In addition, a number of bursaries are also available to help with costs that may be incurred as a result of conference participation:

  • Conference attendance bursaries. For those attending the conference in-person, who do not have institutional funds for conference attendance, these bursaries are designed to allay the costs of attending.  
  • Childcare/dependent bursaries. For both those participating in-person and online, these bursaries are to help cover the costs of any extra childcare or other dependents’ costs incurred from participating.
  • Digital inclusion bursaries. For those participating online these bursaries can be used to cover any extra costs incurred related to digital access (e.g. Wi-Fi costs or data packages). Please note these bursaries cannot be used for hardware (e.g. laptops).

We will prioritise those who have the most need such as postgraduate, early career, retired, low income/unwaged, or any researcher who may not ordinarily be able to access institutional funds.  
To request a bursary or any additional support, when submitting your abstract, please complete the additional box on the online submission form.
Please note that while completing the form you will be asked whether you are planning to attend in-person or virtually, however given the uncertainties of the coming months with regards to international travel, you will only have to confirm in-person attendance after your abstract is accepted.

The conference is supported by the Templeton Religion Trust and is being held as part of the activities of the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, based at the University of Birmingham (UK).

Finding University of Exeter

The conference will be held at University of Exeter’s Streatham campus. Please find travel information on the University of Exeter website.

For more information about Devon, see the Visit Devon website.

For more information about the conference or wider network please email