We want tomorrow’s academics to be thrilled by a comprehensive vision of Christ in their work: the one from whom, through whom, and to whom all things exist, both in creation and redemption. We want to serve and publicly exalt Christ as the one in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The result will advance both the academy and the gospel.
A Christian worldview is the opposite of ‘anti-intellectual’. Equally, our research need not, and should not, draw us away to any anti-Christian philosophies that might be propounded in our faculties. So what are the implications of the gospel for our scholarly vocation and for our fields? And how do the questions, assumptions and insights of our fields help us point the world persuasively to Christ?
UCCF Research is our postgraduate ministry and we partner with Forming a Christian Mind, Cambridge and the IFES Europe Postgraduate Initiative, to provide evangelical envisioning, resourcing, and support to postgraduate students as we relate the gospel and our work.
The primary national gathering for UCCF Research takes place usually twice a year in Cambridge in the shape of the Forming a Christian Mind conferences.
These conferences present an opportunity to engage with an evangelical vision for academic service, and for academics and postgraduates across the disciplines to encourage and learn from one another.
This is also where we usually host student leaders’ gatherings for our Association of Christian Postgraduate Groups (below), and the location also provides excellent cross-fertilisation opportunities with the Cambridge Christian Study Centre, located at the Round Church, and with whom we partner locally for both postgraduate and undergraduate ministry.
The UCCF Research Network provides email resources and the first step for keeping in touch beyond the conferences. As well as news and updates, we provide regular term-time readings and questions for reflection or discussion, addressing a variety of themes helping evangelical students explore the intersection between their Christian faith and their academic work. Some network members are also keen to support undergraduate students as mentors or evangelistic speakers.
If you are a PhD or Masters’ student in the UK, or a church student worker ministering to postgraduates, and would like to join the network, please complete the application form below.
Beyond the email-based Network (above), you may well want to meet up regularly with other Christian postgrads in your area. We have been approached by a number of local independent groups of Christian postgrads asking for support, profile and mentoring. In response, and as part of UCCF Research’s wider partnership with IFES Europe’s Postgraduate Initiative, we have established the Association of Christian Postgraduate Groups to support you.
The vision of the Association is to provide encouragement and connectivity with similar self-led groups and group leaders across the UK and Europe. This is not to duplicate the primary role of local church fellowship groups and we recognise postgrads are at a different stage of life to undergrads. Rather there is a specialist opportunity for mutual support on campus in your unique challenges and opportunities as postgraduates.
You may wish to meet fortnightly or monthly, to discuss Network resources and to ask: how does the gospel shape our vocation together, and how might we work together in our gospel witness on campus?
Group leaders can apply to register their to receive mentoring, leaders’ resources, public profile for the group, encouragement and information about leaders’ gatherings. The Association is coordinated by Dr Martin Herdegen, Associate Professor of Financial Mathematics at the University of Warwick. Please get in touch with us through our contact form if you’d like your group to join.
For those who would like to go deeper – whether or not you’re a group leader – you’re invited to apply to our Fellows Programme, an annual scholarship programme for 8-10 PhD students, in which we partner with Forming a Christian Mind, Cambridge.
Successful applicants receive a generous book grant, and between January and June in term-time engage with weekly set-readings hybrid seminars led by a range of senior evangelical academics. The programme includes the supported writing of an essay about your field from a Christian perspective, and the giving of practice TED-style outreach talks moving from the questions of your field toward the introduction of Christianity and the person of Christ. Find out more.
The Gospel and Academia Project (‘GAP’) seeks to strengthen an evangelical contribution to the wider faith-and-scholarship conversation by providing a dedicated space for those whose primary confessional commitments are clear but who would like to help each other fill what is often perceived as a ‘gap’ when it comes to an evangelical concentration in this arena – especially in the UK and Europe.
The Project is dedicated to evangelical thought-leadership and researches, curates and develops foundational resources for Christians at the outset of their university careers, celebrating the goodness and relevance of an evangelical theological vision for fruitful and faithful academic service. Framed specifically to serve all of the above projects, but seeking to promote a unifying evangelical vision, GAP is a collaboration between UCCF Research, IFES Europe, Forming a Christian Mind, the FEUER Academic Speakers’ Network, and Crosslands Forum. Click here to find out more about the annual GAP Essay Prize.
These sample articles from the UCCF Research Network emails give you a taste of what is available – apply using the link above to receive more great material in your inbox.
Isn’t it safest to leave our faith outside the lab, the library and the lecture theatre?
How does one go about organising an evangelistic event for fellow postgrads? Is that a good thing to do in the first place?
Some practical tips on starting to connect with International Postgraduate Students
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