IAIS’s research concentration areas are indicated in its organisational chart, particularly its five reaserch units, each of which focuses on a cluster of research themes. The five research units are:
• Civilisation, Interfaith, Peace & Security Studies
• Shariah, Law, Governance & Halal Studies
• Economics, Finace, Zakat and Awqaf
• Science, Technology, Environment & Ethics; and
• Education, Culture & Arts
IAIS research fellows usually take the initiative to propose the project they wish to pursue. Selection and approval of the project then involve the Research Committee deliberation and input, which often solicits opinion from other fellows. The head of the RC ensures that suitable adjustments are made as a result of such deliberations. About half the way through, the researcher is expected to speak to his project at the Research Fellows Seminar. This is yet another step at making IAIS research activities participatory and consultative - and the exercise has often proved to be valuable. Research projects that qualify for selection must be topical and bear relevance to Islam and contemporary issues of concern to Malaysia and the wider Ummah. It must also lead to actionable outcomes and policy recommendations.
Our research projects are generally short to medium term of no more than a few months that should lead to publication of their outcomes in one or the other of IAIS’s publication venues, outside academic and media outlets. IAIS values research effort that helps society and suggests measures that arise from sound engagement in Islamic doctrines and the contemporary understanding of outstanding issues. Much of IAIS’s research is also informed by our fellows’ engagement with the general public through the conferences, public lectures and roundtables we regularly hold. Ever since its establishment in 2008, IAIS has held about 40 events per year in which our fellows are expected to be present, or be presenters themselves.