ESSSAT Research Prize 2014 for thesis on religion and the medical sciences

The ESSSAT Research Prize for 2014 has been awarded to Dr. Patricia Bennett for her dissertation Relationality and Health: A Transversal Neurotheological Account of the Pathways linking Social Connection, Immune Function, and Health Outcomes. With this original study, Bennett earned a doctorate in theology from Oxford Brookes University, UK.

Bennett’s study brings together in fruitful conversation medical literature, especially on neuro-immunology (links between ‘how we feel’ and our immune system), and a theological vision of a healthily connected human person. She draws on primary scientific literature as well as theological and philosophical texts. The author uses her earlier training and experience in medicine to good effect, and in this shows the wisdom that comes from time spent in two very different disciplines. The jury considered this an ambitious study drawing on a wide range of literature, focused on a relevant problem in a way that gives purpose and a practical thread to the work. Thus, the jury consisting of scholars from Germany, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, unanimously chose this book as winner of the ESSSAT Research Prize. The Prize, sponsored by the Udo Keller Stiftung Forum Humanum , consists of 2000 euro, as well as coverage of travel to and participation in the next European Conference on Science and Theology.

Chairman of the jury was Prof. Dr. W.B. Drees, Leiden University (NL); On the sponsor of the prize, the Udo Keller Foundation Forum Humanum:

ESSSAT Student Prize 2014

The ESSSAT Student Prize for 2014 has been awarded to Jenna K. Freudenburg for her essay “Is the God of the gaps argument always theologically harmful?”. The essay was presented as course work at the Divinity School of the University of Edinburgh in 2013.

Jenna Freudenburg examines the notion of a God of the gaps from the perspectives of the scientist and of the theologian. While agreeing that the God of the gaps has no place in science, she argues inventively against the notion that this idea is necessarily dangerous for a good theology, given that it can be used in tandem with a more self-reflective understanding of science.

The jury for the prize consisted of scholars from France, Poland and Estonia.

The ESSSAT Student Prize is sponsored by the Udo Keller Stiftung Forum Humanum. It consists of 1000 euro, together with the costs of travel to and participation in in the Fifteenth European Conference on Science and Theology, to be held in Assisi, Italy, April 30th – May 4th, 2014. The ESSSAT Student Prize will be presented during the conference.


ESSSAT Prizes for Studies in Science and Theology 2014

The European Society for the Study of Science and Theology invites submissions for the

ESSSAT Research Prize, sponsored by the Udo Keller Foundation Forum Humanum, will honour the author of an outstanding original contribution on an aspect of the interaction of science and theology at a postgraduate or doctoral level.

The ESSSAT Student Prize, sponsored by the Udo Keller Foundation Forum Humanum, will recognize the author of an essay of excellent quality written in an academic context at an undergraduate or graduate level.

The ESSSAT Research and Student Prizes seek to honour students or younger scholars from Europe, preferably authors born after 1970. A candidate for the Research or Student Prize must be nominated by a senior faculty member of a university or similar institution of higher education in Europe. The work must be based on research done in Europe (with allowance for a period of research elsewhere of at most one year) and have been accepted for academic credit, presented or published in 2011-2013. It may be in any major European language. It need not have been published.


Applications for these prizes must be received by the secretary of ESSSAT before October 31st 2013 for Research Prize and January 15th 2014 for Student Prize.

Each application must include

(a) The work itself. An electronic application, e.g. as a pdf-file, is preferred. If this is impossible, three copies of the material should be submitted.

(b) A two-page summary in English.

(c) A brief curriculum vitae of the author (stating nationality); and

(d) A letter of nomination.

Submitted material will not be returned.

The Secretary of ESSSAT:

Lotta Knutsson Bråkenhielm

The Theological Faculty, Uppsala University
Box 511
751 20 UPPSALA



The prizes will be presented at the Fiftheenth  European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XV), in Assisi, Italy, April 30th - May 4th 2014. The ESSSAT Research Prize will be 2000 €, and the ESSSAT Student Prize 1000 €. In addition to this, winners’ expenses for participation in and travel to this conference will be covered.