These FAQs are designed to help you to decide whether to apply and, if you do, to understand the goals of the programme and submit a strong application. Before completing an application form, please read the FAQs thoroughly. We cannot give individual guidance on your application or informally review it.

We welcome suggestions for other FAQs. Please notify us if you would like to suggest an FAQ.

 

 

1. What are the scholarly and personal/institutional financial benefits to my participating in the project?

Participating faculty spend two summer months in Oxford (July 2018 and 2019) working on science and religion with world-leading scholars offering lectures and guidance in the field; those involved last round included: Alister McGrath, David Livingstone, Elaine Ecklund, John Hedley Brooke, Lydia Jaeger, Rene van Woudenberg, Philip Clayton and Jeff Schloss to name just a few.

  • July 2018 and July 2019 spent in Oxford in seminars with all room and board provided (a housing benefit of ca. $2,600** per summer plus full board for the month; participants with families can arrange their own housing applying those funds rather than stay in the accommodation provided at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford);
  • Stipend of ca. $2,275 paid each summer;
  • Release from two courses for research during the period; one of which is paid for by $2,600 from grant and the second matched by the sending institution.

In addition, there are direct benefits for students:

  • A budget of $3,900 over two years to fund student research assistantships on campus;
  • A budget of $3,900 over two years to fund a science and religion club on campus;
  • A $2,600 offset to support the student research assistant to study a science and religion-related topic at SCIO for SSO or OSP

And for the campus community and senior administrators:

  • Opportunity to host a touring play, Mr Darwin’s Tree, by an award winning playwright with all major costs provided;
  • 3-day Roundtable in Oxford for presidents in 2019 with all on site costs of room and board covered by the grant;
  • 3-day Colloquium in N. America in 2019 for the participating faculty member along with other senior leaders including, the chief academic officer, chief ministry officer, chief development officer, or the chief student development officer with all on site costs of room and board covered by the grant (held in conjunction with the CCCU’s annual CAO meeting so as to reduce your institution’s travel costs).
2. What makes a strong application?
  • A proposed research topic relating to Science and Religion that is clearly defined, interesting, and important
  • Evidence of your ability to engage across disciplines
  • Evidence of your competence in and experience for the research project
  • Evidence of the support of your home institution for your participation and that the institution will be supportive of the campus-based activities
  • Evidence of your ability to work with a research assistant and support a student club
  • Evidence of your engagement with the broader academic community
  • Evidence of your ability to collaborate and form connections with a team of researchers
3. What kinds of research projects are you looking for?

We are looking primarily for original research projects which would contribute to current issues in Science and Religion. Your research proposal will be evaluated on:

  • Its originality
  • Its ability to advance the field of Science and Religion
  • Its potential to advance Science and Religion conversations among Christians and in higher education
  • A subject that can be adequately supervised by organizers and mentors in Oxford
4. I don’t have any experience outside my discipline. Can I apply?
Yes. However, we will look favourably on applicants with a history of interdisciplinary engagement. If you do not have such a history, we will assess your potential for interdisciplinary engagement.
5. Is proficiency in the English language necessary?
Yes. There will be no translation services available.
6. My institution will not release me from my duties, and/or support the creation of a Science and Religion club, and/or allow me to hire a research assistant, and/or commit itself to sending the campus leaders to the North American Colloquium or the president to the Presidents’ Roundtable during the second summer. Can I still apply?

In order for an application to be considered, the sending institution must sponsor the candidate and agree to the following conditions:

  • The institution must release the applicant from teaching two courses during the academic year 2018–19 so that he or she can work on his or her project, and agree to fund one of these course releases. The project will provide £2,000 to fund the second course release.  A scheduled sabbatical does not count towards this release.
  • If the institution is in North America, Europe, or other developed nations, it must cover the cost of travel to and from Oxford for the two summers of the programme. A successful applicant from the Global South who cannot pay for flights may apply for a scholarship to cover these costs. Limited funding is available for under-resourced regions, is predicated on need, and is first come first served.
  • The institution must support the creation or enhancement of a Science and Religion club on its premises and the hiring of a research assistant by the participant.
  • The president (or in rare instances, and with prior agreement from the B2C team, a chief academic officer) must be willing to attend the Presidents’ Roundtable in Oxford during the second summer, and the institution must agree to pay the cost of travel.
  • North American institutions must agree to send the following individuals to the North American Colloquium in February 2019 and to fund their travel costs (the project covers the costs of the Colloquium itself including room and board): the faculty participant, the chief academic officer, and one to two additional senior administrators (sending two strongly encouraged) such as the chief student development officer, the chaplain / campus ministry director, chief enrolment officer, or chief advancement officer.  The CCCU hosts conferences every February for CAO’s (often held in conjunction with others of these officers as well), and the Bridging Two Cultures Colloquium will be adjacent to that event, thus saving airfare for those attending the CCCU conference.
    • Please note that while institutions in N. America will be required to participate in the colloquium, participating institutions outside N America will be invited and encouraged (but not required) to attend.

Together these interlinking parts of the seminar will significantly shape the culture of the participants and their institutions in order to achieve long-term, sustainable impact.

7. Who is offering the seminars?
Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO), the UK subsidiary of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), is a research and educational institute in Oxford (and a recognized UK educational charity), producing and supporting scholarship in a recognized centre of international educational and scholarly excellence. It advances the scholarly development and opportunities of academic leaders from member institutions (both North American and international affiliates): undergraduates, graduates, and faculty members. It strives to serve individuals and institutions.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) is an international association of intentionally Christ-centred colleges and universities. Founded in 1976 with 38 members, the Council has grown to 115 members in North America and 23 affiliate institutions in 29 countries. The CCCU is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in the historic Capitol Hill district of Washington, DC.

The Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) is a relatively new, offshore sibling of the better-known John Templeton Foundation (JTF). Its core funding areas are the same as JTF’s, but the Trust’s governance and decision processes are somewhat different from, and independent of, those of its Philadelphia-based sibling. The Trust has an endowment of approximately US$1.2 billion, which was released from Sir John Templeton’s estate after his death in 2008. Unlike JTF, the Trust does not invite open submissions via a website. All of its grant development activity results from outreach by Trust staff.

The Blankemeyer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established as a charity that serves both church and society by helping address the ‘big questions’ central to human flourishing. Jim and Carolyn Blankemeyer have spent many years investing in the broad category of church leadership, with particular focus on the Majority World. Their vision and activities, as embodied in the work of The Blankemeyer Foundation (TBF), have matured and evolved as they have learned from both their domestic and global partners. Of the many lessons learned, a cluster of interrelated themes have come to the forefront and play a formative role in TBF’s next steps. The lessons learned over the past decades play a formative role in shaping TBF’s next steps. TBF is still committed to producing leaders for the church, but its commitment is motivated by a desire to see a church ready and able to engage society at key points of (potential) conflict, those critical intersections where the church and society so often collide.

8. Who are the organizers of the seminars?

Details on the seminar staff and advisory board are available on a separate page.

9. What are the location and dates of the summer programme?
The summer programme will take place in Oxford, UK.
1 to 29 July 2018
30 June to 28 July 2019
It will be held at Lady Margaret Hall, one of Oxford’s 45 colleges and halls. Some meetings and events will take place elsewhere in Oxford, and there will be excursions to other locations.
10. Why Oxford?
Oxford is one of the world centres of Science and Religion, offering virtually unrivalled opportunities and resources in this field. Oxford’s history, international standing, and institutional structure serve these interests in a fashion that few other major research universities can. In addition, Oxford gives ready access to lecturers and mentors from the continent, and the combination of American, British, and other European scholars provides rich opportunities to support the purposes of this project.
11. What are the features of the programme?
The Oxford programme overview is detailed on this page. The campus-based programme overview can be found on this page.
12. What do we mean by bridging the two cultures?

In 1959 C. P. Snow noted that a cultural divide existed between the humanities and the sciences, and evidence abounds that it persists and helps explain some of the challenges to cross-discipline discourse and collaboration in Science and Religion. Fierce debates featuring high-profile figures may attract media attention, but few are founded on scholarship and balanced argument, and the history of science is disfigured by inaccurate master narratives, such as those concerning Galileo or the Huxley–Wilberforce debate.

Myths have also had a prominent place in the popular—and even academic—imagination, such as Washington Irving’s romanticized claim that the church, until Columbus, believed in a ‘flat earth’, or Draper’s and White’s invention and popularization of the ‘conflict thesis’, which posits that science and religion are irrevocably opposed. The popular press still cites Galileo’s trial as a simple suppression of science, despite many studies arguing for a more balanced assessment. Good scholarship in the field of Science and Religion needs to be identified, fostered, and applied to each issue, and its results need to be made widely available. A new vision of the issues and new interdisciplinary skills are needed in order to advance the dialogue. We hope that this project will help to bridge the academic and cultural divide.

13. What are the expectations of the student clubs?

Each participant must sponsor a Science and Religion club at her or his home institution, and must present an evaluation of the campus culture setting out the context in which a club could reasonably flourish and provide a strategic plan to the project team at SCIO for funding approval. The project directors are not mandating particular activities but need to be given a viable plan that fits the particular campus, which might include major speaker events, hosting student conferences, funding students to attend conferences elsewhere, and the like.

Once approved, each club will receive significant funding of £3,000 (£1,500 per year for two years). The project will support and fund an existing interdisciplinary Science and Religion club if it exists but will not provide support to a discipline-specific club, such as a biology club, in place of the broader sort of club required. However, we certainly encourage clubs to collaborate with other student clubs (such as chemistry or history clubs) and with other local institutions to pool resources and expand their sphere of influence. The clubs should be creative and need not limit their plans to typical activities such as the hiring of speakers.

The Science and Religion clubs will bring together students to shape and advance their interests, aspirations, and commitment to scholarship in Science and Religion.

14. Can you tell me more about the research assistants?

Each participant will hire a research assistant to help with his/her research and the running of the campus-based Science and Religion club. Research assistants should show scholarly promise in the field. Funding for the research assistant will be released once the participant has provided a brief plan and job description for the role. Funding from the programme for the research assistant’s remuneration will be paid to the home institution on confirmation of her or his work, as follows:

  • £500 for spring–summer 2018 following the candidate’s successful application
  • £2,000 for the academic year 2018–19
  • £500 for summer–autumn 2019 to complete the final months of research
15. What have past participants gained from the programme?

Visit our past participants page to read their testimonies and to learn about their projects.

15. I am not from a CCCU institution. Can I still apply?
Yes, consideration will be given to applications outside the CCCU. If you are a faculty member at an accredited, degree-granting faith-based institution (in the Christian tradition), we encourage you to apply. Applicants from Africa and Latin America are especially encouraged to apply. However, please note the following:

  • The grant does give preference to applicants from CCCU member and affiliate institutions.
  • The grant and project aim to support a broader culture conducive to discussions of Science and Religion, so your institution must be able to support this, including the president’s willingness to come to the Presidents’ Roundtable in Oxford in summer 2019 and the North American Colloquium for the participant, provost, and one or two additional senior administrators (sending two strongly encouraged) such as the chief student development officer, the chaplain / campus ministry director, chief enrolment officer, or chief advancement officer. chaplain, chief student development officer, and faculty participant.
  • The programme is designed to work with faculty members, students, and executives from small to medium-sized institutions, and it is expected that large universities will not comply so readily with the requirements.
17. I am an independent scholar. Can I apply?
Unfortunately, given the focus of this project and the outcomes promised to our grant funding body, we cannot entertain applications from non-associated scholars. As this grant focuses substantially on campus activities and leaders too, you must have a full-time post at your institution that you reasonably expect to last at least until 2020 (the period of the grant and continuing implementation).
18. I want to apply but I don’t know if I can get the approval of my home institution. Will this be an issue?
Yes. One of the aims of the project is to work with institutional leaders so that your training is supported by, and can develop discussions across, your home institution. This sustained impact is impossible without the support of your institution. Applications will not be considered unless they include a letter of approval from the institution’s chief academic officer.
19. Will I need a passport or a visa for the UK, and if so who is responsible for obtaining it?
All participants will need a valid passport to travel to the UK. Visa requirements vary according on the country which has issued your passport. Please consult https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y. Further details will be given to successful candidates. Each participant is responsible for obtaining a passport and visa and for meeting the legal requirements for travel to the UK. SCIO will provide a letter of invitation and support if required.
20. Can I bring my spouse/family to Oxford?
You are welcome to bring your family, as we acknowledge that spending four weeks away from them may be difficult, especially if you have young children. However, you are required to fulfil all of the expectations outlined in the participant’s agreement without exception, including attendance at all lectures and participation in all events.

If you choose to bring family members, you will be responsible for finding accommodation (though the organizers may offer suggestions) and for all extra expenses incurred. It may be possible to meet these costs from the amount budgeted in the grant for your accommodation.

21. When do I receive the participant stipend payment?
A £1,750 stipend payment will be made to each participant at the end of August 2018 and again in December 2019 (after all final reports are filed), contingent upon full participation in the programme.
22. When is the application deadline, and when will I be informed of the outcome?
Application materials will be published on Saturday, 1 April 2017. Interested parties should complete and submit the Intention to Apply form. They will then receive a full application form which must be completed and emailed by midnight (GMT) on Friday, 15 September 2017. Decision letters will be emailed on or before 1 December 2017.
23. Is there a requirement as to the academic discipline of the applicant?
No. The organizers aim to select a cohort which will represent a range of disciplines in science and the humanities, as many such can contribute to Science and Religion discussions.
24. What is the Presidents’ Roundtable and when and where will it be held?
The Presidents’ Roundtable will take place in Oxford for three days half-way through the second summer programme in 2019. The dates are 25-27 July, 2019.

This short roundtable will be for the participants and their presidents and is intended to help presidents understand current issues in Science and Religion and strengthen the working relationship between each participant and the leaders of her or his institution. Because presidents have final control of matters such as tenure, academic policy, budgets, and so on, it is vital that they are aware of the main issues, opportunities, current developments, and areas of broad consensus. It is assumed that each participant’s president will take part, and all applicants should confirm this with their institution before applying. However, in a limited number of cases where a president is unable to participate, the organizers may consider allowing a replacement such as the chief academic officer or a trustee. This arrangement may be altered only by prior agreement and is the exception.

25. What is the North American Colloquium? Who is it for and where will it be held?
In February 2019, faculty members will participate in a weekend colloquium in North America, bringing their chief academic officers and one to two additional senior administrators (sending two strongly encouraged) such as the chief student development officer, the chaplain / campus ministry director, chief enrolment officer, or chief advancement officer who are crucial to the shaping of campus culture. The Bridging the Two Cultures I (2014–16) cohort and their respective campus administrators and pastoral staff will also be invited in order to maintain their momentum.

The Colloquium will be held in conjunction with the CCCU’s annual conference for provosts, and other senior administrators held every February. The events will take place in an accessible North American hotel or resort.

Much like the Presidents’ Roundtable, this meeting between faculty members and key campus leaders will allow for transformative understanding, collaboration, and long-term, sustainable impact. Participating campuses must cover the cost of travel but the project will cover room, board, and other Colloquium expenses. These expenses will be minimal, however, for those also attending the CCCU’s annual conference.

It is understood that participants coming from Africa and Latin America may not be able to participate in the Colloquium owing to travel costs. Unfortunately our travel scholarships do not currently include funding for this meeting.

26. What is the play tour?
A live performance of the acclaimed British one-man play Mr Darwin’s Tree will be offered to up to ten participating North American campuses in the spring and autumn of 2019.

The tour will foster a deep and healthy dialogue surrounding Science and Religion on CCCU campuses. It will do so by coordinating the activities of key professors, a small group of student assistants who promise to be future scholars and leaders, and student Science and Religion clubs, and will draw in a broader array of faculty members and leaders.

Written by the noted playwright and director Murray Watts, and starring the leading British film, TV, and theatre actor Andrew Harrison, the play was commissioned by the Christian think tank Theos in association with Bible Society in the UK to mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. It had its premiere in November 2009 in Westminster Abbey, London. The play is a means to broaden Science and Religion dialogue beyond normal scholarly confines.

Discussing the issues surrounding Darwin in essentialist terms often leads to a polarized and ill-tempered debate, that is, just the kind of debate our project seeks to avoid. Providing the historical, and deeply human issues, by contrast, often leads people to understand their complexity, and enables them to discuss them in more nuanced and less confrontational ways. Often dealt with in caricature, Darwin is appropriated as a divisive figure by admirers and opponents alike without respect for his actual words or intent. This play brings the latter to life in order to encourage healthy dialogue and analysis.

27. What is the funding for study in Oxford available to research assistants?
The grant includes a cost reduction of £2,000 per institution to underwrite the research assistants coming for advanced training to Oxford to study as part of Scholars’ Semester in Oxford (SSO) or the Oxford Summer Programme (OSP), the student programmes offered by SCIO. Both of these offer opportunities to study subjects that support the integration of science and religion. At least 50% of the studies they elect to take (2 courses in SSO or 1 seminar in OSP) must be in a Science and Religion-related subject. Students must apply and be admitted to SSO and/or OSP following normal protocols.

If a participant has hired more than one research assistant with the funds provided, and more than one wish to come to study in SSO or OSP, the participant/institution may divide the grant, at its prerogative, between the students. Please note that cost reductions may not be applied to other programmes or for other students and must be used by December 2019.