A team of experts at the University of Glasgow will lead one of the first detailed studies into the effects of religious education in schools.
The study aims to find the effects of religious education
The £365,326 three-year project will find whether RE creates social cohesion or division.
Academics will examine the topic in the different contexts of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council funded the research.
Dr Paul Gilfillan, lead ethnographer on the study, said: "This programme is a timely recognition of the importance research councils, academics and governments attach to religion and questions of culture, identity and meaning today in the quest for more cohesive communities.
"The findings of the study will help inform the substantial public conversation on whether the inclusion of religious education as a compulsory subject in the curriculum contributes to social cohesion and diversity or is constitutive of social division."
A conference to present and discuss the findings of the project will be held at the University of Glasgow once the study is completed in December 2010.