The Templeton Prize is a joint activity of the three philanthropies established by Sir John Templeton.
Originated in 1972, the Templeton Prize was his first major philanthropic venture. He created the Templeton Prize because he wanted to recognize discoveries that yielded new insights about religion especially through science, and he set the award amount above that of the Nobel Prizes in order to recognize the importance of progress in religion. His understanding of progress in religion evolved during his lifetime and is shown in the variety among the 49 Laureates who have received the Prize. Winners have come from all major faiths and dozens of countries and have included Nobel Prize winners, philosophers, theoretical physicists, and one canonized saint.
Throughout the decades, the Prize always reflected Sir John’s core conviction that there is a deeper level of reality that can be accessed through rigorous research, especially in the sciences. For the first few decades of the Prize, HRH Prince Philip presented the award, and distinguished leaders such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dame Margaret Thatcher, and Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford served as judges.
Today, the John Templeton Foundation serves as the primary administrator of the Prize and the Templeton Religion Trust and Templeton World Charity Foundation support the activities of the Prize.