Multi-million pound award to support first research centre dedicated to understanding the UK's character and values

Posted on Wednesday 16th May 2012

“An attitude of Gratitude creates blessings.”

– Sir John Templeton

The University of Birmingham has won a multi-million pound award to support the first UK centre dedicated to research into the Character, Values and Virtues that shape UK society. The over-arching aim of the new centre, which is supported by the John Templeton Foundation, is to contribute to the renewal of character and values in Britain through research and development activities.

Research projects in the centre will cover all areas of British society: from character education in schools, to examining the values that motivate professionals such as teachers, lawyers and doctors, as well as those in the media, finance industries and civil service. It will try to answer questions that are fundamental to understanding modern Britain including:

  •  How does the power of good character transform and shape the future of society?
  •  What would be the wider social, cultural and moral impact of a more grateful Britain?
  •  What personal virtues should ground public service?
  •  How can fostering character traits like hope and optimism be help working towards a better British society?

The Centre will initiate a national consultation on a proposed curriculum policy for character building in schools.The Jubilee Centre for Character and Values will be launched at an event at the House of Lords on 16th May.

Professor James Arthur from the University of Birmingham’s School of Education and Director of the new centre explains:

“In the aftermath of the August 2011 riots there have been many calls for the renewal of public and private virtues. As a country we appear to want to change people for the better and so improve the quality of public life.  However, there is very little definition of what these changes might be and how they might be made.

The Jubilee Centre will not simply research past and present attitudes to character, but help to develop new knowledge and understanding of character that will benefit civil society.”

The John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org) serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

Dr. Jack Templeton, President and Chairman of the John Templeton Foundation adds:

“Sir John Templeton’s powerful sense of gratitude to Britain began as a student, and grew and grew over his entire life. Sir John especially honored the Gift of the Mind and how it is the Mind and the Spirit whence come Character and Values.

Therefore – the foundation is honored to support the new Jubilee Centre for Character and Values at the University of Birmingham and the Centre’s leadership in a 10-year endeavor:  ‘Gratitude Britain’.

For further information, contact Ben Hill, PR Manager, University of Birmingham, Tel 0121 414 5134, Mob 07789 921163

Notes to Editors

The John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org) serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights. The Foundation's vision is derived from the late Sir John Templeton's optimism about the possibility of acquiring “new spiritual information” and from his commitment to rigorous scientific research and related scholarship. The Foundation's motto, “How little we know, how eager to learn,” exemplifies its support for open-minded inquiry and its hope for advancing human progress through breakthrough discoveries.

The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 different countries. Home to approximately 28,000 students, with more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK.