Research into the theory and practice of Islamic finance is being carried out in conjunction with a number of international financial institutions, policymakers and regulatory bodies, notably the Securities Commission Malaysia. This activity also ties in closely with the Centre’s work on the economic and human development of Muslim societies. The aims are threefold:
- to create an international platform for debate, dialogue, study, research and publication on contemporary issues and challenges faced by Islamic finance;
- to strengthen the understanding of Islamic finance in the UK and Europe as an alternative mode of financing;
- to support the development of new ideas that will have the potential to contribute to an enhanced role for Islamic finance in business and society.
These aims are achieved by:
- Research and publication: The Centre welcomes visiting scholars (supported through the Centre’s visiting fellowships and Chevening schemes) to conduct research and contribute to the publication output on Islamic finance. A Visiting Fellowship in Islamic Finance programme which supports one or two scholars per year to undertake research on the topic has been running since 2012. Applicants must be specialists in Islamic finance and/or a closely related discipline. (Click for further details.) In 2018, the Mahathir Mohamad Research Fellow, Mohammad Meki, submitted his doctoral thesis on the topic on the effect of equity-like (musharakah-based) microfinance contracts.
- Seminars: Seminars and workshops are regularly organised by the Centre on a range of topics relating to Islamic finance. This has included a seminar series run with Fajr Capital on Islamic finance which covered topics such as the history and evolution of Islamic finance, concepts, products and structures in Islamic finance, how Keynesian monetary theory and policy could embed a Qur'anic model of finance and the role of public policy in enabling Islamic finance.
- Conferences and roundtables: These include the annual Securities Commission Malaysia–Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Roundtable on Islamic Finance (running since 2010). Over the years topics have included Islamic endowments (waqf), solutions for liquidity, the Islamic financial system cycle and the role of Islamic finance in transformational change. The roundtables bring industry practitioners, policy-makers, regulators and scholars who are leading international specialists in their field. In 2018 the ninth annual SC–OCIS Roundtable on Islamic finance was held in Malaysia and focused on ‘Enhancing the Value of Islamic Capital Market through Social and Impact Investment.’ (See ‘Roundtables’ for more information.)
- Prizes: The Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Prize in Islamic Finance considered nominations of eminent figures in Islamic finance from around the world. The prize was awarded jointly to the Islamic Development Bank and its founding President, HE Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani and in 2018. (Click for details.)
The Centre continues to seek further collaborative engagements with international partners on the subject.