Funding opportunity: call for proposals on gratitude to God

Biola University, with the help of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and under the direction of Peter Hill and Robert Emmons, welcomes proposals from various disciplines to investigate questions that concern gratitude to God*. Letters of intent are due January 29th, 2020.

Proposals may be for projects that utilize the methodologies of the psychological sciences, philosophy, theology, or religious studies. Empirical projects may be multi-method, qualitative, theoretical, cross-cultural, employ behavioral measures, or incorporate developmental approaches (though none of these are required). For the empirical projects, experi­mental methodologies are encouraged. There are four separate award competitions: (1) empirical large grants, (2) empirical early career grants, (3) non-empirical large grants, and (4) non-empirical early career grants. Total funding available for this RFP is $2.8M. For more instructions and more information, visit Queries may be sent to

We anticipate proposals for empirical and non-empirical projects that address one or more of the questions listed below:

  • What is the basic structure of gratitude to God? How does gratitude to God differ from gratitude to others?
  • Why and how do people express gratitude to God or fail to?
  • How is cosmic gratitude an alternative to gratitude to God?
  • What functions does gratitude to God serve?

*For the sake of this proposal and the anticipated projects that we hope it generates, we are using the term “God” to encompass the supreme God of monotheistic traditions, as well as other supernatural or superhuman beings with agency and powers (gods, spirits, ghosts, saints), whether personal or impersonal, with capacities to “make things happen or prevent them from happening, especially obtaining goods and avoiding bads” (Smith, 2017, p. 22). The phrase “personal or impersonal” implies that the superhuman powers may or may not be believed to possess consciousness, intentions, feelings, desires and other properties of the mind. We use the term “cosmic gratitude” in the RFP to depict the state that is felt by people who are inclined to feel gratitude for things not plausibly attributable to human agency nor to a personal supernatural or superhuman agent (Roberts, 2014).

The Seminary to Early Ministry Study at Duke University is hiring a Postdoctoral Associate in Research

The Seminary to Early Ministry (SEM) Study, a joint initiative between Duke Divinity School and the Duke Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research invites applications for an Associate in Research, beginning in spring/summer of 2020. The initial appointment will be made for one year, with the minimum of an additional two years available upon satisfactory performance. The successful candidate will support all research aspects of the SEM Study, including instrument design, qualitative and/or quantitative analysis, writing manuscripts for peer-review, supervising students and data collection staff, and advancing the intellectual rigor of the study. The position requires a PhD in sociology or a related discipline and research interests in clergy, congregations, and/or theological education. The SEM Study is mixed methods and we welcome people with expertise in qualitative and/or quantitative methods. More information and how to apply can be found at: Applications are being reviewed on an ongoing basis until a suitable candidate is found.


his two-day writing workshop, funded by The John Templeton Foundation, is for natural scientists, social scientists, and philosophers looking to communicate their ideas to the public via articles and essays in major media outlets. The workshop is designed to benefit scholars with a range of experience writing for popular audiences.

Led by The New York Times editor James Ryerson, who has two decades of experience working with and editing academics, the workshop will focus on:

  • how to conceptually frame scholarly work for a wider audience;
  • how to structure the writing of such pieces;
  • and how to most effectively “pitch” editors at magazines and newspapers.

In a small collaborative setting (approximately 12 participants), attendees will listen to short lectures, engage in discussion, and work on writing and editing exercises, both in groups and directly with Ryerson.

The workshop will be conducted with the assistance of two scientists, David DeSteno and Lisa Feldman Barrett, who have extensive experience writing about their research in books and articles for the public. During the workshop, Dr. Barrett & Dr. DeSteno will provide insights from their experiences as scholars writing for the general public.

Attendees will leave the workshop with an improved understanding of the editorial process and better skills for popular writing, as well as one piece ready for submission to a major media outlet.

The workshop will take place at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts from May 8-9, 2020.

Attendees will bring with them one draft of a piece (approx. 800-1200 words) they might hope to publish.

All attendees will receive a $1,750 honorarium to cover workshop expenses.

Applications will consist of a portfolio of:

  1. Three short descriptions of pieces the applicant might like to write (no more than a paragraph each)
  2. A brief writing sample, which can be a stand alone piece or a passage from a longer work, and of an academic or popular nature (no longer than 1,500 words)
  3. A CV

Applicants will be selected based on each portfolio’s potential to interest non-scholarly readers. Applicants should already have received their PhD by the time of their applications, and be at least post-docs, or beyond.

Applications are Friday, January 31st, 2020. Materials can be submitted here.

For questions, please contact Joseph Fridman

USCCA Conference 2020 China, Christianity, and the Dialogue of Civilizations Santa Clara University – March 13-15

USCCA Conference 2020
China, Christianity, and the Dialogue of Civilizations
Santa Clara University – March 13-15

This March the US-China Catholic Association (USCCA) will host its 28th International Conference.

The unique format of this meeting brings together scholars and members of Christian communities in the U.S. and China, allowing academics to learn from the experience of people of faith and to share with them the insights of their own disciplines. 

Panels will explore the themes of mutual understanding in light of the recent Sino-Vatican accord on the nomination of bishops and parallel efforts to promote dialogue in view of the common good. 

Click here for more details