Research Center for Interdisciplinary Documentation

The Interdisciplinary Documentation Centre for Science and Faith (DISF) is an Interdisciplinary Research and Training Centre that was set up in 2002 to provide philosophical-humanistic training for young scientists who wish to enrich their studies or professional activity with a wider interdisciplinary framework, and explore the philosophical foundations of the various disciplines and contents of Christian revelation. The Centre is an established research Centre within the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in Rome, and its foundation was inspired by the experience gained by its founders during the preparation and publication of the Interdisciplinary Dictionary of Science and Faith (edited by G. Tanzella-Nitti and A. Strumia, 2 vols., Urbanian University Press - Città Nuova, Rome 2002).  The Research Centre aims to promote a mature synthesis between faith and reason in all those who engage in intellectual and research activity, and its programmes are directed towards scholars from different philosophical and religious backgrounds.

The DISF Centre manages three websites: disf.org  (Established in 2003, it is the first Italian website dedicated to the relationship between scientific culture, philosophy and theology); inters.org  (Established in 2006, is the English counterpart of disf.org and projects the Centre’s activities to the international context. The main section of the site is the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science, a registered philosophical journal); sisri.it  (It is the website of the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research (ADSIR). It presents the activities and the ordinary work of the School. Established 2005 by the DISF Centre, ADSIR has promoted an ongoing seminar and regular in-depth meetings on relevant scientific and cultural issues). 

The DISF Centre, also through ADISR, organizes a series of activities for its members and all interested young researchers. They are:

  • National Seminars. Each year, four 1-day seminars are organized between November and April. The seminars are arranged in 3-year cycles, which usually develop in three thematic layers that build on each other progressively (scientific and philosophical questions of epistemology, questions on the philosophy of nature and life, issues of scientific and philosophical-theological anthropology). Each seminar consists of a senior scholar providing a keynote address, supported by documents and articles related to the seminars which are provided in advance on the website to the participants with the aim of stimulating the group-work.
  • Yearly Workshop. Each year a 3-day workshop is organized, usually in May. The workshop is structured around an opening keynote address, and public lecture from an external scholar, which is provided at the end of the second day. The other talks (12-14 in total) are provided by ADSIR Members who submit their abstract in advance, and are selected by a dedicated commission; the same commission evaluates the presented articles and confers the DISF Awards for the best presentation of the workshop.
  • The Summer School. Organized for the first time in July 2017, the one-week summer school was provided for ADSIR Ordinary Members. The programme consisted of 3-4 short courses (8 hours each) offered by invited teachers as well as short contributions made by the participants. The social program included free moments of discussion, after-lunch discussion-sessions on strategic topics for the Centre’s development, after-dinner workshops and movies about the Schools’ topics.
  • The Local Chapters In recent years the ADSIR Members have also established six local Chapters, in Rome, Bologna, Naples and Bari (Italy), Chicago (US, IL), and Groningen (The Netherlands). Each local Chapter organizes a series of Local Seminars or informal meetings each year, with different formats depending on the specific circumstances of the location.