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New STARS Program Begins Recruitment Phase
Science and Transcendence: Advanced
Research Series
Science and the Quest for Ultimate Reality

CTNS 's new $2.8 million 4-year program, Science and Transcendence: Advanced Research Program (STARS) is in full swing. As you may have read, this new program will sponsor research by highly promising, small, interdisciplinary teams about the ways science, in light of philosophical and spiritual reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality.

Recruitment Phase

Program Director, Dr. Dennis Hair states, "I'm looking forward to traveling to various academic institutions to meet potential candidates for this exciting, interdisciplinary research program. We anticipate that this program will appeal to scientists who wish to connect their research with questions of ultimacy, and will result in new collaborative research teams, and ground-breaking publications in this field."

In mid-January 2006, Hair is planning to make a 3-week recruiting trip throughout Asia . He will be visiting Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and India. No doubt his fluency in Mandarin will be a great asset to this recruiting trip. He will then travel to Washington, DC and then to St. Louis for the AAAS Annual Meetings, followed by the American Physical Society meetings in April in Dallas. If you'd like to arrange an appointment with Dr. Hair, email him at

Research Grants

Research grants totaling $1,300,000 will be awarded on a highly competitive basis for STARS research. These grants will support stellar interdisciplinary teams consisting of one or more scientists and at least one humanities scholar (philosopher, religious studies scholar, theologian, etc.). Priority will be given to highly promising scientists who have not yet worked in this type of interdisciplinary research. Five research grants of $100,000 each will be made available to these teams with the possibility of two teams being renewed at $200,000 each. To assist in developing their full research proposals and/or undertaking initial research, twenty planning grants of $20,000 will be the first grants awarded. Visit for details.

Conferences to Support Interdisciplinary Team Formation

Conferences to help candidates apply for planning and research grants will be a key component of this innovative program. STARS will convene three conferences at a resort location in the Caribbean in January 2007. These conferences will showcase foundational discoveries and theories in physics, cosmology, and biology and will be led by internationally distinguished scientists who will point to ways in which these theories and discoveries relate to our understanding of ultimate reality. Each conference will allow ample time for formal and informal discussions. The number of participants will be kept low to help facilitate networking and interdisciplinary dialogue. It is our hope that the conference topics, setting, and participant mix will provide a catalytic template for the formation of highly-motivated and visionary interdisciplinary teams. The conferences are scheduled during Winter break 2007 to facilitate attendance for scholars.

Conference topics and speakers, application criteria and forms will be available online by January 15, 2006 ( Completed conference applications are due May 15, 2006 and the judges' decision will be announced July 1, 2006, allowing winners time to make arrangements to attend the conferences the following January.

Email Updates

Interested individuals and potential applicants may sign up now to receive timely email notices with current program information, such as newly announced speakers, conference logistics, and grant details. To subscribe, visit or email: with “subscribe” in the subject line.

Board of Advisors

 The STARS board of advisors includes many "stars" in academia. Included thus far are:

Francisco Ayala
John D. Barrow
John Hedley Brooke
Philip Clayton
Paul Davies
George F.R. Ellis
Medhi Golshani
Chris Isham
Antje Jackelen
Nancey Murphy
John Polkinghorne
Robert Pollack
Mark Richards
Pauline Rudd
William Stoeger
Charles Townes
Trinh Xuan Thuan

For complete biographies of the Advisors, visit

STARS Program Staff

The STARS staff is eager to assist you in any way. The program is led by Principal Investigator, Robert John Russell and Program Director, Dennis W. Hair and supported by Program Administrator, Anne E. Badè and Research Assistants, Soam Paripon and Braden Molhoek.

For more information on the STARS program, visit the website:, email: or call 510-649-2564.

STARS is funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Program Summary

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Mankind stands at the crossroads of destiny. Scientific discoveries in cosmology, fundamental physics and biology are transforming our world view and dramatically re-defining our place in Nature. As we come to grips with the implications of these developments, we urgently need a new framework that addresses the moral and spiritual dimension of the human person in light of the new scientific paradigms. STARS sets out a bold agenda to tackle these issues head-on. It is the most exciting initiative yet on confronting the challenge of who we are and how we fit into the great cosmic scheme.
Paul Davies

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