The Cultural Evolution Society is running a funding scheme called Transforming the Field of Cultural Evolution and its Application to Global Human Futures, thanks to a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The scheme aims to transform the important, yet underfunded, field of cultural evolution. How our cultures evolve (including how information is transmitted, how people make decisions, and the interaction of culture with our biology) is a pressing issue in a world in which our cultural activities are causing rapid, and drastic, social and physical changes.
Through the scheme, the Cultural Evolution Society aims to tackle several issues:
1) The ever-increasing obstacles to success that early career academics face – this will be redressed through funding, mentoring and training opportunities.
2) Western-centrism, i.e. the tendency of research to focus far too much on the West and for only Western researchers to receive funding – researchers from countries outside of Northern America and Western Europe are especially encouraged to apply to this scheme.
3) Disciplinary divides (for example between psychologists and anthropologists or physicists and historians) that hamper research progress.
4) The gap between scientists and public policy makers – dedicated support is available to help communicate research activities to relevant contacts, in order to enable society as a whole to benefit from research in cultural evolution. Policy makers could more often draw on an explicit scientific theory of cultural change, and the sciences often investigate what needs to be changed but invest less in how this may be achieved.