Having faith in science

Teacher with class of small children sat on floor

Having faith in science

Published: 15 February 2021
A Benefact Trust grant of £140,176 is supporting a groundbreaking outreach programme to encourage more children and young people to explore the interactions of science and faith.
The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion is a world-leading institute engaging in research and dissemination regarding the interactions of science and religion. Research shows that many young people in the UK hold the view that science has replaced, or is fast replacing, faith as the most important, reliable and relevant ‘way of knowing’. In response, The Faraday Institute has developed a programme of outreach to schools and church youth groups, enabling and encouraging thousands of children and young people to explore and embrace positive science-faith interactions.
The Faraday Institute’s mission is to shed light on life’s big questions, and it is now expanding its outreach project - in response to recognised need - with the provision of training for school teachers, youth workers and early-career scientists. The institute also plans to provide a greater number of school events and resources focused on science and religion.
With the support of Benefact Trust funding, The Faraday Institute has employed two new staff members to help spearhead the outreach programme.
Cathy Priest has joined the Youth and Schools Programme as Training Officer. With 20 years’ experience of teaching science - holding leadership roles in secondary schools in the UK and abroad - the former student of Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge is a perfect fit for the team. Cathy will be working with the team to develop training programmes for teachers and youth workers, to equip them to support young people in tackling science and faith issues; and also for scientists and theologians who are keen to develop their science-faith communication with young people.
Completing the team, Cara Parrett has also joined in the capacity of Programme Officer and Researcher. Cara is a marine biologist, and previously worked at The Faraday Institute on resources for churches, before moving into communication roles in the University of Cambridge Engineering Department. She will now be working with the team to develop and deliver interactive sessions and resources for young people - and those who work with them – as well as developing research so that the team can use their experience to contribute to the wider field of effective education strategies.
Although COVID restrictions have limited Faraday’s ability to offer physical events for young people, the Youth and Schools Programme is taking full advantage of its time to develop high quality materials that will be used for both face to face sessions when restrictions are eased, and as part of new online sessions with a mixture of live and pre-recorded content.
Jeremy Noles, Head of Grants and Relationships for Benefact Trust, said: “Science and faith have long been seen as two separate entities, as if a decision must be made between one or the other. The Faraday Institute’s groundbreaking outreach work will help young people to understand that science and faith can co-exist harmoniously, and encourage an open discussion about issues within both disciplines as well as exploring life’s big questions. We’re delighted to support the outreach programme and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on future generations of young people.”
To find out more, visit the new-look Faraday website: www.faraday.cam.ac.uk and the brand new Faraday Kids website: www.faradaykids.com.
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