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Grants programme and essay competition


The Uses and Abuses of Biology Programme was set up in 2011 by The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, funded by a generous grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF).
For many centuries, biological theories have been utilised for non-biological purposes. Biological ideas have been used and exploited in ways that are both beneficial and negative, and have helped to shape contemporary society's perceptions, prejudices, ideas and policies. The UAB Programme aims to investigate such contemporary non-scientific uses and abuses of biological thought, in areas including philosophy, the social sciences, the media, theology and politics. The goal of the Programme has been to provide a forum for researchers working at the interface between biology and society, with the emphasis on collaborative and cross-disciplinary work.

Grants programme

The UAB programme awarded funding for 18 original academic research projects at universities around the world. Eight grants were awarded to universities in the US, eight in the UK, one in Australia and one Canadian/Russian collaboration, covering a huge range of topics and interests.  Primary research was carried out from 2012 to 2014, and the work of the projects will be on-going for many years to come.
For a full list of the UAB research projects, please see the Grant Awards page.
Published outputs from the research can all be found on the Academic Publications pages.

Essay competitions

In addition to the academic research programme, the UAB Programme has also funded two essay competitions for students and recent graduates. These competitions have attracted entries from around the world, and have encouraged young researchers and writers in the field to engage critically with the interaction of biology and society in a number of different ways.
The 2012 essay competition asked essayists to 'Explore the ways in which contemporary genetics both challenges and underpins notions of human freedom, value and identity'. The 2013 essay competition pondered 'How is contemporary biology used for ideological purposes?'. The prize-winning essays from both years can be read on the essay competition page.