The Institute’s Department of Academic Research and Publications (DARP) carries out research in a diversity of areas. In its research programme, the Institute aims to serve a number of constituencies, including the Ismaili community, the academic community and the interested general public. In light of these considerations, the overall objective of the Institute’s research activities is to establish itself as an important centre of Islamic studies in general and Shi‘i and Ismaili studies in particular.
In addition to research, the IIS engages in a variety of academic activities, including publications
and organisation of seminars, conferences and public lectures
In recent decades, the field of Ismaili studies has been revolutionized due to the recovery and study of genuine Ismaili sources on a large scale. These sources, representing diverse literary and intellectual traditions, had hitherto been secretly preserved in private collections of manuscripts in India, Pakistan, Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.
In the area of Ismaili studies, the Institute is a point of reference. This is attained not only by undertaking projects in the field, but also by serving as a forum of research for scholars. More specifically the IIS produces, through the efforts of its faculty, or by commissioning eminent external scholars, publications which appear in the Ismaili Heritage Series
, or the Ismaili Texts and Translations Series
; both these series are under the general editorship of Dr. Farhad Daftary
The Institute’s scholars also contribute articles to a number of major encyclopaedias, including The Encyclopaedia of Islam and Encyclopaedia Iranica.
The IIS is involved in the preparation of catalogues of manuscripts in the collections of the Institute's Library, with the objective of making these collections known to scholars and students throughout the world. These catalogues also serve to establish close relations between the Institute and other academic institutions and libraries.
To make the publications of the Institute accessible to broader, and non-English speaking audiences, they are selectively translated into Persian, Arabic, Urdu and other languages.
In conducting its research activities, the IIS draws on its own faculty, which has expanded steadily to ten in the year 2000. In addition, some eminent contemporary Islamicists currently aid the Institute as Senior Research Fellows, including Professors Mohammed Arkoun and Wilferd Madelung. Furthermore, numerous external scholars regularly participate in the Institute’s research, publication and teaching activities.