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Cambridge Interfaith Programme


In January, Professor Sriya Iyer began work on the Social Consequences of Religion initiative, a multistrand programme from the Templeton Religion Trust. Iyer is leading scoping work on Religion and Economic Development, courtesy of a $260,000 landscaping grant.

The following news item was first published by the Faculty of Economics:

Funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, the Social Consequences of Religion (SCORE) Initiative will delve into the profound impact of religious beliefs, behaviours, and institutions on economic development. This is a multi-decade, multi-national and multi-pronged effort to examine the role of religion on different aspects of human life, with the focus of this strand on economic development.

The initial grant of $260,000 will fund the first phase of a landscape study of religion and development to be conducted by Professor Sriya Iyer. This will be followed by a new research phase and a dissemination phase for research in subsequent years.

Professor Sriya Iyer, Professor of Economics and Social Science, and a Professorial Fellow of St. Catharine's College at the University of Cambridge, says “I am immensely grateful to the Templeton Religion Trust for the grant and for the opportunity to lead the Social Consequences of Religion Strand on Religion and Economic Development.”

“Over the next decade we hope to enrich the conversation about the interactions between religion, economics and development in countries right across the globe. I look forward to working with a team of inter-disciplinary researchers to think more deeply about these issues in the years to come,” she adds.

Through a team of academics and others who are working in the field of development, SCORE will use evidence from quantitative analysis and global case studies to investigate the mechanisms and factors which contribute to sustaining economic development in religiously pluralistic societies.

For the Templeton Religion Trust, the SCORE initiative will be an important contribution to understanding development in today’s global landscape as its aim is to provide the first comprehensive understanding of religions’ wide ranging and diverse social impact. The first two strands already launched under SCORE have been on religion and cooperation and religion and peacebuilding. Strand 3 brings economic development into focus.

The Templeton Religion Trust is a global charitable trust actively engaged in philanthropic efforts since 2012, focusing on projects and storytelling related to the enrichment of conversations about religion. The overarching objective of the Templeton Religion Trust is to “change the conversation” about religions. Its founder Sir John Templeton was optimistic that sound scientific methods could uncover the nature of spiritual realities and promote the moral and spiritual progress of individuals and societies, as well as to engage with humility.

Professor Iyer (pictured above) is a member of the Cambridge Interfaith Research Forum. We reported on her research concerning religion and COVID-19 earlier this year

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