The monetary value of the prize is adjusted so that it exceeds that of the Nobel Prizes, as Templeton felt "spirituality was ignored" in the Nobel Prizes. At £1,200,000, as of 2015, it is the second largest single annual financial prize award (behind the Fundamental Physics Prize) given to an individual by a philanthropic organization. The prize is awarded "based on the decision of a panel of distinguished judges from various academic disciplines and religious traditions". Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists have been on the panel of judges and have been recipients of the prize.
The prize has been criticized: British biologist Richard Dawkins said in his book The God Delusion that the prize was given "usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion". Sean M. Carroll, a research associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, criticized his colleagues for taking Templeton research grants when they did not support Templeton's beliefs. Martinus J. G. Veltman, the 1999 Nobel laureate in physics, suggested the prize "bridg[ed] the gap between sense and nonsense".
The inaugural winner of the prize, in 1973, was Mother Teresa, six years before she received the Nobel Peace Prize. She was cited by the Templeton Foundation "for her extraordinary efforts to help the homeless and neglected children of