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Explaining Atheism programme: invitation to submit Letters of Inquiry

Through a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Queen’s University Belfast welcomes research proposals contributing to the Explaining Atheism programme. We will hold three grant competitions. RFP1 and RFP2 will fund research projects of varying sizes while RFP3 will focus on public engagement.

We are currently inviting submissions for RFP1.  This initiative will provide £850,000 for research from the human sciences (e.g. anthropology, biology, cognitive science, history,  psychology and sociology) to advance our understanding of the causal origins of atheism. We aim to fund 8 to 10 projects of up to 23 months in duration; individual researchers or project teams can apply for funding to a maximum project value of £200,000.

We are now inviting submission of Letters of Inquiry, following which we will invite a limited number of researchers and research teams to submit full proposals. For more information about the Explaining Atheism programme, the parameters of this grant competition and the evaluation criteria, please refer to the information sheet provided.

Deadline for Letters of Inquiry: Monday, 28 February 2022
In addition to the research funding above, we also have two PhD studentships available on the programme. Both studentships are set to begin in Autumn 2022. 

The recipient of the Quantitative studentship will work with the core team on the central cross-cultural survey project examining the causes of atheism and be invited to pursue additional research that reflects their own personal interest in the causes of atheism. The appointed researcher will work with a supervisory team led by Dr Jonathan Lanman (Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast) and supported by Dr Aiyana Willard (Psychology, Brunel University London).

The recipient of the Qualitative studentship will work with the core team to analyze hundreds of existing interviews from Brazil, China, Denmark, Japan, Sweden, UK, and USA in order to examine how the causal factors identified elsewhere in the project manifest in individuals’ lived experience, illustrate and deepen our understanding of those processes, and generate new theories about how people and societies become non-believing. The appointed researcher will work with a supervisory team led by Dr Jonathan Lanman (Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast) and supported by Dr. Lois Lee (Religious Studies, University of Kent).

The recipients of both studentships will be invited to pursue additional research that reflects their own personal interests in the causal origins of atheism. 

Further details on the studentships, selection criteria, eligibility, and how to apply can be found here.

The deadline for applications for both studentships is 18 February, 2022For any queries, please contact explainingatheism@qub.ac.uk