Dr Jocelyn Dautel Recognized in Templeton World Charity Foundation’s $60 Million Research Commitment
A team led by Jocelyn Dautel and Emma Flynn from our School is one of 11 teams selected in the Foundation’s Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing request for ideas.
On April 29 2021, Templeton World Charity Foundation announced the initial investment in a $60 million commitment for bold research that pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge to help people flourish. The global scientific Foundation selected 11 teams of researchers, including a Queen’s University Belfast team led by Dr Jocelyn Dautel, to receive inaugural awards of the Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing.
More than 500 teams of scientists from over 350 academic institutions across the world answered the request for ideas, which push beyond traditional measures of physical and mental health to include happiness, meaning and purpose, spiritual well-being and striving in adversity. The 11 awards represent the work of more than 40 researchers at over two dozen institutions and amount to more than $1 million to encourage further exploration of these ideas and the advancement of science in human flourishing. The Queen’s University Belfast team will focus its research efforts on empowering human flourishing through truth-seeking and epistemic vigilance.
“We are thrilled to be involved in the shaping of initiatives to thoroughly and systematically study human flourishing, and we look forward to exploring mechanisms underlying truth-seeking and information transmission beginning here, in Northern Ireland’s historically polarized society,” Jocelyn Dautel said.
Beyond the research itself, the Queen’s University Belfast team will influence the Foundation’s thought leadership initiatives exploring innovations at the heart of human flourishing. The awardees will also advise the foundation on its next initiatives, as well as participate in webinars, articles and other opportunities to amplify the science.
“Human flourishing is an enormous, and as yet still largely uncharted, field for scientific inquiry,” said Templeton World Charity Foundation President Andrew Serazin. “We are incredibly pleased with the high caliber and scientific ambition of the ideas submitted. Successful ideas were those which had global relevance and comprised deep interdisciplinary teams.”
Templeton World Charity Foundation launched the Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing request for ideas in September 2020 with the intention to support a robust pipeline of projects aimed at improving key aspects of human flourishing. Broadly, human flourishing can include a range of dimensions under which human beings are at their best—physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being—and it further suggests growth, resilience and progress. The contemporary study of human flourishing encompasses vast subject matter from the role of artificial intelligence in democracies to the health benefits of forgiveness. Research in the field often joins disciplines as disparate as neuroscience, engineering, and philosophy in pursuit of deeper understanding and new innovations. Jocelyn Dautel leads a team bringing together practitioners in developmental psychology, applied community psychology, cognitive science, communication studies, and anthropology from across 7 universities.
The request for ideas is just the first stage of the Templeton World Charity Foundation’s new strategy to support a growing group of researchers committed to discovering new knowledge, developing new tools, and launching new innovations.
The idea for this work was born from collaborative workshops on Cultural Evolution and Social Learning jointly funded by the Society for Research in Child Development and the Jacobs Foundation. Jocelyn is thankful to be working with an interdisciplinary team of esteemed collaborators in both Europe and the US, including:
- Kathleen Corriveau (Boston University)
- Emma Flynn (Queen's University Belfast)
- Mariah Kornbluh (University of South Carolina)
- Christin Scholz (University of Amsterdam
- Jennifer Watling Neal (Michigan State University)
- Lara Wood (Abertay University)
- Jing Xu (University of Washinton, Seattle)