NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Collins Wins 2020 Templeton Prize

Collins with Sir John Templeton in inset
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, with Sir John Templeton in inset

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins was named winner of the 2020 Templeton Prize on May 20. 

“In his scientific leadership, public speaking and popular writing, including his bestselling 2006 book The Language of God, Collins has demonstrated how religious faith can motivate and inspire rigorous scientific research,” said the press release from the Templeton philanthropies.

“[Collins’ book] argues that belief in God can be an entirely rational choice and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science,” said the citation. “In the book, he endeavors to encourage religious communities to embrace the latest discoveries of genetics and the biomedical sciences as insights to enrich and enlarge their faith.”

Collins, 70, was selected as the 2020 laureate by prize judges late last year, but the announcement was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The prize, given to 50 people since it began in 1973, includes a cash award of 1.1 million British pounds, or about $1.3 million.

Sir John Templeton, an investor and philanthropist who died in 2008, created the Templeton Prize to recognize discoveries that yielded new insights about religion, especially through science. He set the award amount above that of the Nobel Prizes in order to recognize the importance of what he called “progress in religion.”

The full citation is available at

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)