UNDERSTANDING UNBELIEF Public Engagement Call for Proposals Information Sheet

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1 UNDERSTANDING UNBELIEF Public Engagement Call for Proposals Information Sheet Through a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the University of Kent is pleased to announce a funding stream for media professionals and others to advance the public s understanding of unbelief in relation to the Understanding Unbelief programme. We seek to appoint a number of media professionals, academics, and others experienced in public engagement activities to communicate research data and findings in more precise and/or innovative ways and to wide audiences, and to work with researchers to ensure that they are aware of the questions and interests that matter to wider publics. This funding stream will therefore provide a total of 150,000 to support public engagement activities, as well as providing opportunities for media professionals, curators, and others involved in this work to engage with academic researchers in their work. This Information Sheet provides full details of this call and the applications procedure, for expressions of interest due 8 January Further details of the Understanding Unbelief programme can be found at

2 Overview This funding stream is part of a new major programme of research called Understanding Unbelief (funded by the John Templeton Foundation, with support from the University of Kent, St Mary s University Twickenham, Coventry University, Queen s University Belfast and the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network). The growth of atheism and other forms of unbelief in many parts of the world is attracting increasingly wide attention, fuelled further by the growth in nonreligious identification and the flourishing of 'New Atheism', secularist activism, and policy debates around nonreligious belief and secularism. Yet significant questions remain about how to understand these phenomena. The concept of unbelief has its origins in Western and Christian traditions and indicates the absence of belief in God(s), and sometimes also the absence of belief in other supernatural forces and the afterlife and/or other supernatural forces. But the concept and the nature and boundaries of what it seeks to describe are under-developed. We do not currently know how best to characterize unbeliefs as psychological and sociological phenomena, the extent to which positive beliefs about religion, or the existential, etc. underpin these unbeliefs, how diverse unbeliefs are, how they vary across demographic groups and cultures, and how they manifest in the lives of those who hold them. Yet, understanding the nature and variety of unbelief is necessary if we are, in future, to answer big questions about the causes of unbelief and its effects on wellbeing, social cohesion, and other personal and social outcomes. The Understanding Unbelief programme is interested in research and public engagement initiatives that explore unbelief in new and innovative ways, and in global perspective. Examples of possible public engagement initiatives include, innovative methods of modelling raw data and making it accessible to other users development of infographics and other data visualisation methods for portraying findings about the various forms of unbelief written work for popular publications, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs documentary films interactive websites or tools for the Understanding Unbelief website photo-journalism and other visual documentations of distinct forms of unbelief in detail or around the world

3 This public engagement scheme is open to journalists, academics, and others with appropriate experience in public engagement activities relating to scientific research (see below) though please note that the emphasis is on engaging public engagement professionals as opposed to academic researchers in this work. Applicants are free to propose subject matter of their own choosing, as well as to design their projects in relation to Understanding Unbelief programme research (see for an overview of the different projects that are underway). Applicants wishing to work with programme research can indicate the research project(s) they are interested to engage with in their expressions of interest letter, but do need to have set up this collaboration prior to this. Funding will be made for projects run by individuals or teams, and typical awards will be between 5,000 and 50,000. Projects may involve any form of media that may help advance the public s scientific knowledge of the diverse phenomena commonly labelled as unbelief. Criteria for Evaluation Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated according to three main criteria: 1) engagement with programme themes and/or objectives: namely, to better understand (i) the beliefs, perspectives and worldviews of atheist and other religious unbelievers; (ii) how these beliefs, perspectives and worldviews are interwoven into people s everyday lives and relationships; (iii) whether and how they vary across demographic groups (e.g. across gender lines, ethnic groups, or non/religious upbringing or non/religious context); and (iv) when and how the beliefs, perspectives and worldviews of unbelievers matter to them in their lives. 2) quality and coherence of the proposal, including feasibility and value for money; 3) the applicant s relevant experience or other evidence of commitment to the medium; 4) the potential impact of the proposed work Applicants should therefore make sure their proposals engage closely with the interests and activities of the Understanding Unbelief programme (see Applications should state clearly how the proposed subject matter is related to the Understanding Unbelief programme, and how the work will be conducted.

4 Grant Eligibility 1. Applicants will have a minimum of 3 years experience working with the media they propose, and be able to demonstrate recognition of their work through a field-appropriate record of publication, exhibition, etc. 2. Projects involving academic collaborators are welcomed; however, no more than 20% of grant funding will be allocated directly to higher education institutions. (Applicants may wish to consider that proposals requesting more than 20% of their budgets go to higher education institutions could stand a lesser chance of success.) 3. Projects that are primarily artistic in intent are not eligible for funding. The main goal of proposed works should be to illustrate scholarly knowledge about unbelief and unbelievers to broad audiences (though projects may also generate new data or knowledge in so doing). Applicants whose careers include artistic practice are welcome to apply, but the work they propose should be primarily illustrative of scholarly work, rather than interpretive, i.e. offering creative responses to this material. (If you are unsure whether your project would be eligible for funding, please to discuss this further with one of the team.) The lead award-holder must commit to the following: a) regular contact with at least one member of the Project Team; b) submission of a final report (2 page max.) detailing the outcomes of the funded project c) a mid-term and final expenditure report (1 page max.) outlining expenditures and their contribution to the project outcomes. d) all project teams must be represented at the two meetings specified below. We welcome applications from around the world. All applications must be submitted in English and all payments will be made in British Pound Sterling.

5 Required Cross-project Collaboration The objective of the Understanding Unbelief Public Engagement stream is to support and improve scientifically informed understandings of unbeliever populations and of religious unbelief. To support this work, successful applicants will be required to discuss their projects with fellow grantees at a project workshop to be held in Canterbury in July 2018, and at the closing conference of the Understanding Unbelief programme to be held in Rome in June These meetings will give award-holders the opportunity to develop and discuss their work with leading researchers in the field, as well as to promote their own projects. For these events, accommodation and meals will be provided for at least one project member. Applicants should arrange their own travel, and may include this cost in their budget calculations if required. Costs for additional team members to participate in events can also be included in budget calculations. Timeline and Application Instructions We invite expressions of interest (observing the format and page limitations set out below) in the first instance. Expressions of interest are due by 8 January Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 26 January, and successful applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal (due 23 February 2018). The earliest start date of projects is 1 June 2018; the latest end date for project activities is 30 June Expressions of interest must include: 1. A covering letter, providing a summary of the proposed project, including the working title, main media, estimated budget, duration of the project and information about team members (maximum 1 page). 2. A complete curriculum vitae, attached as a separate document from the Proposal (maximum 2 pages). 3. Examples of previous work (maximum 2 examples). These application materials should be submitted by attachment to The words Public Engagement should appear in the subject line. Questions about the application process can be sent to the same address. Expressions of interest must be received by 8 January An acknowledgement will be sent within two days of receiving the materials.

6 Full proposals (only to be submitted following invitation) will require: 1. A project proposal describing: a) the central objectives and main approaches of the project, including research methods and intended output b) the background and significance of both, how the project engages with the Understanding Unbelief themes/objectives, and c) a summary of the project activities, including the project timeline. For projects requesting funds of less than 50,000, this proposal should be no more than 4 pages long; project proposals for larger projects can be up to 8 pages long. 2. A summary of up to 500 words that explains the project activities that could be published on the project website and included in publicity materials if the proposal is funded. 3. Particulars of costs, specifying how the funds will be spent. For projects requesting overheads, please note that these are strictly limited to 15%, and funds cannot be used for major equipment purchases. FAQs Do applicants need to prove expertise in the area of unbelief? No, but applications should demonstrate engagement with the objectives and interests of Understanding Unbelief programme. Information about the programme can be found on our website. Do applicants need to prove experience within academic research? No. Do applicants need to have publication/ dissemination confirmed before applying? No. Suitable project outputs would include complete manuscripts, films or other media products, and we would also value a commitment to provide evidence of correspondence with potential publishers, commissioners, or platforms of dissemination where possible.

7 Can proposals include content of multiple media? Yes. Can proposals be made for pre-existing projects-in-progress? Yes, as long as the project (or specific work package within a broader project) is clearly relevant to the Understanding Unbelief programme. Will priority be given to projects with other sources of funding? No, we welcome proposals with no other sources of funding. However, the review process will involve consideration of the value for money that a project involves, and match funding may be advantageous in this regard. Is there any flexibility in funded activity start and end dates? Yes, so long as start and end dates fall within the parameters outlined (i.e. starting no earlier than 1 June 2018, and completing no later than 30 June 2019). For example, a three month project could start in September 2018 and complete in November Are certain types of audience to be prioritised for engagement? No. In general, we seek to fund projects that will improve public understanding of unbelief overall, but this could be achieved by targeting specific audiences (e.g. school children; key stakeholders such as policy makers) or a large general audience (e.g. through work with a platform with national or international reach). We also welcome applications for projects that will help build the audience of or otherwise enhance the Understanding Unbelief programme website.

8 Project Team Principal Investigators Dr Lois Lee, Religious Studies, University of Kent Professor Stephen Bullivant, Religious Studies and Theology, St Mary s University, Twickenham Dr Miguel Farias, Psychology, Coventry University Dr Jonathan Lanman, Anthropology, Queen s University Belfast Research Support Dr Jonathan Jong, Psychology, Coventry University Claire Berlyn, Religious Studies, University of Kent Briony Campbell, Media Consultant Steering Committee Professor Justin L. Barrett, Fuller Theological Seminary Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker, Newman University Professor Matthew Engelke, London School of Economics Dr Conrad Hackett, Pew Research Center Professor Gordon Lynch, University of Kent Professor Emeritus Raymond Paloutzian, Westmont College Please direct all queries to

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