Follow Us

RFP: The Sociology of Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation


The Sociology of Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation

Rice University and the University of California, San Diego are pleased to announce a $2.9 million re-granting initiative.  The “Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation” project will specifically fund sociological research that empirically examines how identities and beliefs are related to science and religion.  This project has been designed to provide support for new scholarship in the sociology of science and religion. The project, led by Elaine Howard Ecklund (Rice University) and John H. Evans (University of California, San Diego), is funded through the Templeton Religion Trust and coordinated by The Issachar Fund.

Religion and science are perhaps the dominant ways of meaning making in the late modern world.  While theologians and philosophers have built an impressive body of work on how science and religion should relate, and historians on how people have connected science and religion in the past, we know little about how contemporary people actually understand the science and religion interface.  This project on the sociology of science and religion, with a focus on beliefs and identities, is running concurrently with, and interacting with, separate yet aligned proposals in cognitive science/psychology and evolutionary anthropology.

We can imagine sociologists asking a number of questions within this broad framework.  We offer just a few examples: How do aligned identities (such as race, class, and gender identities) intersect with religious identities to shape beliefs about science, and beliefs about the relationship between religion and science? How do people use religion and science to anchor their identities in the modern world?  For example, are there people for whom science is an identity that operates in a manner similar to how religion operates as a source of identity?  Do people use religion and science to establish other identities? Given that people experience religion and science at the same time in their lives, how do people combine these perspectives to form meaningful action?

Awards for projects related to this initiative are available through the following five award types:

  1. Sociology graduate student fellowships ($50,000 each for a total of two years of funding).
  2. A two-year postdoctoral fellowship for a sociologist to be in residence at Rice University.
  3. Research grants ($100,000 each) for early career sociologists.
  4. Research grants ($200,000 each) for mid-career sociologists.
  5. Research grants ($200,000 each) for senior sociologists.

All awards will run two years in length. Early-career, mid-career, and senior scholar awards are eligible to begin as early as April 1, 2020; all projects must be completed by June 30, 2022. Graduate student and post-doctoral fellowships will begin on July 1, 2020 and must be completed by June 30, 2022. Letters of Intent are due October 15, 2019 for faculty grants, and January 15, 2020 for graduate student and postdoc awards.

For complete information about grant application eligibility, instructions and deadlines, download the full RFP from:

John H. Evans
Tata Chancellor’s Chair in Social Sciences
Professor of Sociology
Associate Dean of Social Sciences,
Co-Director, Institute for Practical Ethics
University of California, San Diego