CfP: Science and Belief in Society 4th Annual Conf 12–14 July 2023, University of Exeter (UK) and Online

12–14 July 2023, University of Exeter, UK, and Online (hybrid conference)

Bursaries to support attendance are available

The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society has been at the centre of the recent significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion, and belief in society. Following our successful hybrid conference in 2022, this 4th annual conference of the network will continue the hybrid in-person and online format.

As this field of research has grown it has engaged in myth-busting popular perceptions and stereotypes about the relationship between science and religion, which treat both science and religious/spiritual populations as monolithic. To date, much of this foundational and vital research has aimed at empirical description. This conference seeks to build on this essential work and address future avenues for research within the social scientific and historical study of science, religion, and belief in society to develop ways of theorising the complex relationships between science and religion in their varying global manifestations that have been identified and to further understand the practical implications and applications of research in this field.

This conference will bring together international researchers with backgrounds in sociology, science and technology studies, psychology, political science, history, social anthropology, and related humanities or social science disciplines, to discuss perspectives on the overarching topic of science and belief in society.

We are pleased to invite submissions of papers that relate to any aspect of STEMM in society (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics), that discuss any religious, spiritual or non-religious tradition, position or worldview.

Abstracts are invited for the conference relating to the following themes:

  • Public engagement with STEMM in pluralistic or religiously diverse societies;
  • The social scientific and historical study of the relationship between science and religious and/or non-religious belief and identity;
  • Public perceptions of the relationship between science, religion and non-religion and their respective roles in society; 
  • National and international comparative perspectives on the study of science, religion and belief in society;
  • Past and present media or popular representations of science, religion and belief in society;
  • The past or present roles of science, rationalism, religion and belief in national, social or cultural identity and related geopolitical narratives;
  • Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of science, religion and non-religion in society;
  • Methodological approaches to, and issues in, the study of science, religion and belief in society;
  • Studies on the impact of publics’ views on science and religion on policy making, and provision for religious, spiritual or non-religious communities across a range of geographies and issues (e.g. healthcare provision, educational policy, science policy, environmental policy or development).
  • Religion and inequalities in access to science and technology, including the intersections between religious and racial, ethnic, class and/or gender inequalities.

Individual or panel session submissions may cross over several of the themes listed above, and those intending to submit papers are encouraged to consider the relevance of their work to other academic disciplines.


Conference format

We encourage speakers and attendees to attend the conference in-person if they are able to and feel comfortable doing so. However, we acknowledge the on-going impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inequitable constraints it has imposed. Therefore, the conference will continue to use a hybrid format that combines in-person presentations at the University of Exeter, UK, with limited online contributions by those unable to travel due to ongoing restrictions and health concerns.

The conference will be run in line with any UK COVID regulations as they stand in July 2023, and will adopt best-practice regarding health and safety of attendees on-site.  

Please note that as in prior years, we will be running an in person, fully-funded early career workshop in the days prior to this conference, but this will be announced and advertised via a separate call.

We have bursaries available to support both in-person and online attendance (see below).

If you have any questions or concerns about access or the conference format, please email


Paper and Panel Submissions

Please follow the below links to submit a stand-alone paper or a panel proposal. Information on what is required on the form can be found below:

Submit an individual paper:

Submit a panel proposal:

Individual paper submissions 

To submit a paper proposal, please write a title and abstract of no more than 300 words, alongside a biographical note of no more than 200 words (please use this online form).

Panel session proposals 

We will also be accepting a limited number of panel proposals with a maximum of four speakers. To submit a panel proposal, using the online form please send a session summary of no more than 250 words, alongside abstracts of no more than 300 words for each individual paper and a short biography of no more than 200 words for each contributor. The format and individual presentation length for panel sessions is flexible, but please note that panel sessions must not take longer than 90 minutes overall.

Contributor Biographies

For all submissions, please send a biography of no more than 200 words for each contributor, including name, institutional affiliation, email address, primary discipline or subject area, a statement regarding career stage (e.g., early career, mid-career), and if possible, a link to a personal profile on an institutional website or similar.  Biographies of successful applicants will be added to the International Network’s Research DirectoryPlease indicate on your application if you would like to opt out of being added to the Research Directory.

All abstracts and panel proposals must be submitted online by 23rd January 2023.


Conference Costs and Bursaries

This conference is funded by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, as part of a grant from the Templeton Religion TrustPlease note that for all successful applicants, accommodation and registration costs will be covered by this grant. In addition, a number of bursaries are also available to help with costs that may be incurred as a result of conference participation:

·         Conference attendance bursaries. For those attending the conference in-person, who do not have institutional funds for conference attendance, these bursaries are designed to allay the costs of attending.  

·         Childcare/dependent bursaries. For both those participating in-person and online, these bursaries are to help cover the costs of any extra childcare or other dependents’ costs incurred from participating.

·         Digital inclusion bursaries. For those participating online these bursaries can be used to cover any extra costs incurred related to digital access (e.g. Wi-Fi costs or data packages). Please note these bursaries cannot be used for hardware (e.g. laptops).

We will prioritise those who have the most need such as postgraduate, early career, retired, low income/unwaged, or any researcher who may not ordinarily be able to access institutional funds.  

To request a bursary or any additional support, when submitting your abstract, please complete the additional box on the online submission form.

Please note that while completing the form you will be asked whether you are planning to attend in-person or virtually, however given the uncertainties of the coming months with regards to international travel, you will only have to confirm in-person attendance after your abstract is accepted.


Key Dates 

Deadline for online submissions (abstracts, panels & bursaries): 23:59 GMT, 23 January 2023

Decision notification:  10 February 2023

The conference is supported by the Templeton Religion Trust and is being held as part of the activities of the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, based at the University of Birmingham (UK).

For more information about the conference or wider network please email