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April 8, 2005

Penn Receives 2005 Templeton Research Grant
Funds to Explore Mind, Religion, and Ethics

(Philadelphia, PA) – The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will receive a 2005 Templeton Research Lecture grant. The award totaling, $270,000, will be given over 3 years to promote the constructive engagement of science and religion through interdisciplinary study groups and an annual distinguished lectureship.

Andrew Newberg, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Psychiatry, will direct the initiative. The project – ‘Mind, Religion, and Ethics in Dialogue’ – will explore the critical relationship between the mind and spirituality.

“This Lectureship Program will greatly advance the field of study that links religion and spirituality to the human mind,” says Dr. Newberg. “This program provides an opportunity for leading scholars around the world to explore in more detail this relationship and bring these ideas to the general public.”

This relationship includes the study of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, religious and spiritual experiences and concepts, issues related to love and compassion, and epistemological problems. These scholarly pursuits hold critical importance for many fields including theology, philosophy, law, and bioethics. There are also broader implications for research in the health sciences, psychology, and biology. The endowment is made possible by a generous grant from the Templeton Foundation, which supports global initiatives to pursue new insights into the boundary between theology and science. Using the “humble approach,” the Foundation embraces a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields ranging from cosmology to healthcare.

The Metanexus Institute, which advances research, education and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion, will administer the 2005 gift. The Institute is part of a growing network of individuals and groups exploring the dynamic interface between the cosmos, nature and culture in communities throughout the world. The group sponsors lectures, workshops, research, courses, grants, and publications, and runs more than 300 projects in 30 different countries.

In addition to Penn, other recipients of the 2005 Templeton Research Lectures grants are Frankfurt University in Germany and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

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