NEST Team Recognized in Templeton World Charity Foundation’s $60 Million Commitment for Innovations in Human Flourishing

April 29, 2021

Logos for the Templeton World Charity Foundation and the Network for Economic and Social Trends

On April 29, 2021, Templeton World Charity Foundation announced the initial investment in a $60 million commitment for bold research that pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge to help people flourish. The global scientific Foundation selected 11 teams of researchers, including a Western University-based team led by Dr. Jordan Mansell, to receive inaugural awards of the Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing.

More than 500 teams of scientists from over 350 academic institutions across the world answered the request for ideas, which push beyond traditional measures of physical and mental health to include happiness, meaning and purpose, spiritual well-being and striving in adversity. The 11 awards represent the work of more than 40 researchers at over two dozen institutions and amount to more than $1 million to encourage further exploration of these ideas and the advancement of science in human flourishing. The Western University-led team will focus its research efforts on the regulation of emotion and racial prejudice and the applications of this research to develop more effective anti-racism programs. It includes Jordan Mansell, Victoria Esses and Mathieu Turgeon at Western University, as well as researchers at six other universities and a non-profit organization.

“We are honored to be part of this initial effort to investigate innovations in human flourishing. We have pulled together a project team of excellent scholars across North America to pool our skills and expertise in our partnership with Mosaic Institute to evaluate and devise anti-racism programs.

Using a foundation of theories of emotion, we will use a multi-method approach to better understand how emotion regulation and appraisal connects to prejudice and attitudes toward others. Through these efforts, we hope our findings help organizations like Mosaic to develop and execute more effective anti-racism programs within institutions and communities,” Dr Mansell said.

Beyond the research itself, the Western-based team will influence the Foundation’s thought leadership initiatives exploring innovations at the heart of human flourishing. The awardees will also advise the foundation on its next initiatives, as well as participate in webinars, articles and other opportunities to amplify the science.

“Human flourishing is an enormous, and as yet still largely uncharted, field for scientific inquiry,” said Templeton World Charity Foundation President Andrew Serazin. “We are incredibly pleased with the high caliber and scientific ambition of the ideas submitted. Successful ideas were those which had global relevance and comprised deep interdisciplinary teams.”

Templeton World Charity Foundation launched the Grand Challenges for Human Flourishing request for ideas in September 2020 with the intention to support a robust pipeline of projects aimed at improving key aspects of human flourishing. Broadly, human flourishing can include a range of dimensions under which human beings are at their best—physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being—and it further suggests growth, resilience and progress. The contemporary study of human flourishing encompasses vast subject matter from the role of artificial intelligence in democracies to the health benefits of forgiveness. Research in the field often joins disciplines as disparate as neuroscience, engineering, and philosophy in pursuit of deeper understanding and new innovations. The Western-led team brings together practitioners from eight international institutions and includes Political Scientists, Psychologists, and a non-profit organization with expertise in anti-prejudice program development.

The request for ideas is just the first stage of the Templeton World Charity Foundation’s new strategy to support a growing group of researchers committed to discovering new knowledge, developing new tools, and launching new innovations.