The World Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) has been established as a research and knowledge exchange unit within BGU that can bring together and support current activities, and create new initiatives, committed to research and development in world religions and education. We do not intend to replace or merge projects that are already established, but to create synergies and greater visibility for those projects and to add new work. There is a chance for BGU to have a globally-leading position on research in world religions and education. By ‘world religions’ in the unit’s title we mean those religious traditions of international significance, including – amongst many – Anglican, Roman Catholic, Nonconformist and Orthodox Christianity, Baháʼí, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jain, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrian. As religious education, globally, often includes education on non-religious ways of life and ethical and values education, these are also included in our work.
The objects of WRERU are:
- Research: to promote high quality, innovative, financially sustainable, research into religions, non-religious ways of life (including ethics and values), and education, whether in education systems or within and between them and religious and non-religious communities;
- Dissemination: to promote openness and the dissemination of the results of such research, through publication (in academic and professional media as well as through open channels such as websites), meetings (such as seminars and conferences), and through contacts and exchange amongst and beyond members and friends of WRERU;
- Impact: to influence the development of policy and practice in religious education and other interactions between world religions and education, both within and beyond educational and religious communities.
All three objects will contribute to the Education and the Theology and Religious Studies units of assessment for the Research Excellence Framework.
In order to progress WRERU’s objects, we will use a range of means including:
- bringing visiting and honorary faculty into the BGU community;
- contributing to the enhancement of BGU as a research-rich environment;
- developing and attracting new research and development projects;
- developing consultancy opportunities for BGU staff in these fields;
- drawing together and supporting, and offering coordination possibilities for, those projects already active in BGU;
- encouraging and supporting students and academic staff who are emerging as researchers in these fields, and who are experienced in these fields;
- providing ways in which research and practice settings, related to the objects of WRERU, can influence each other, for example by providing opportunities for professional staff in educational and religious organisations to draw on and contribute to research in these fields;
- raising the profile of BGU’s research environment both within and beyond the university;
- responding to the educational and research requirements of religious communities;
- supporting the postgraduate and research degree provision relating to WRERU’s objects.