NEW Naked Reflections episode, Lost in Translation, now LIVE

Research is at the heart of the Woolf Institute's work, it informs and develops the teaching, public education, online education and media activities by which the Institute aims to foster and increase understanding between religion and society around the world. The Woolf Institute's approach is to integrate academic research with practical education that targets audiences as diverse as police and doctors, teachers and clergy, diplomats and policy makers. All its research projects are designed to include policy and/or public education outputs in addition to academic outputs.

The new building will allow the Institute to be a base for greater numbers of researchers than previously possible, so that it can build upon the body of significant work already completed and underway. The Institute is working with researchers to develop a number of research projects subject to securing funding, details of which can be seen below. Gifts may be made online by credit or debit card, by GBP cheque to Development Office, Woolf Institute, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0UB, or contact to discuss other payment methods. More information can also be seen on our donate page about increasing the value of your donation with gift aid and donor recognition.


Our unique character as a mutli-disciplinary research hub allows our researchers to engage across subject areas. Academics are able to enrich their work with other’s ideas through discussion and collaboration. They are also able to test their findings by their engagement with students during teaching. Our diversity is reflected in the great number of ongoing research projects with which we are currently engaged.

We have successfully completed a great variety of research projects in the past, resulting in publications and practical policy recommendations.

We are currently seeking funding for further projects, which potentially include poetry in the Genizah papers, young leaders in settled refugee communities, the role of humour in religion, the relationship between prayer and compassion, and interrelations between Jewish and Muslim law. If you are interested in finding out more about our research, you can contact our Director of Research Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner directly.

Director of Research

The Woolf Institute’s research programme is led by the Director of Research, who oversees and co-ordinates research activity according to Woolf Institute principles. The Director of Research aims to have three flagship, multi-researchers projects underway at any given time, as well as a number of individual researchers based at the Woolf Institute and externally-located researchers (who may be part of the flagship projects, or may be working on smaller, individual projects).

The Director of Research’s role is essential in ensuring that Woolf Institute research is focussed so that the scholarly study of contemporary and historical interfaith encounters can guide present day relations and understandings between people around the world with different beliefs. This requires the Director of Research to build and deliver a research programme which uses a variety of approaches to address the issues in question and to communicate outcomes to a wide audience, with recommendations and examples of how these might be applied across society to create better understanding and tolerance between disparate groups.

The Director of Research role needs support of £60,000 per annum and could be endowed at £1,500,000.

Library & Facilities

The Woolf Institute building was designed to facilitate and accelerate its work towards achieving better relations between religion and society through education. Thus, the building welcomes researchers, teachers, faith leaders, supporters, students and community members. It provides an environment for academic research; houses the Institute's specialist library; is a venue for teaching, exhibitions, talks, lectures, cultural events and concerts; policy discussions; and is a base from which to produce the Institute’s online courses. In this way, its impact is international and transformational.

The Woolf Institute library is an important resource for scholars, including Institute researchers and visiting scholars, Cambridge Theological Federation staff and students, University of Cambridge and Cambridge colleges' academics, staff and students; students from other universities; and independent researchers. A librarian serves this community of users and is expanding its numbers and reach, for example by working in partnership with other appropriate libraries.

The Woolf Institute library holds around 5,000 books; loaned, purchased and donated. Approximately 500 are reference works and, together with oversized books and MA/MSt dissertations, these are housed on the ground floor of our two-level library.

We need to raise £275,000 per annum to meet the costs of our building, library and associated staff, such as the Receptionist and the Librarian. Gifts to support these costs help to secure the platform from which all our research, teaching, outreach and communications take place. To make a gift in support of our place of teaching, learning, research, discovery and sharing, please make a gift online. More information can also be seen on our donate page about increasing the value of your donation with gift aid and donor recognition. To discuss gift options, please contact the Development Director.