The McGill Centre for Islam and Science will conduct and sponsor research into the causes underlying the lag in modern scientific productivity, but will also be pro-active in encouraging Muslim scientists to advocate for increased attention to scientific productivity in Islamic countries.
One of the striking aspects of science research, development and productivity in Islamic countries in the twentieth century has been how poorly they score in relation not only to developed countries but to comparable, developing nations (Arab Human Development Report, 2003, 2009; OIC, 2007). There are a number of policy analyses and prescriptions that have been put forth, ranging from the lingering effects of colonialism, to the detrimental policies of authoritarian and corrupt governments, to the inherently anti-rational aspects of Islamic culture and beliefs. Unfortunately, many of these analyses, and accompanying prescriptions, depend more on ideology and self-serving agendas than on empirical studies and sound data. They are also often the work of persons who have had little experience in the field of science or science policy. The Centre will take full advantage of its Historical and Educational arms to provide unique perspectives into this current and modern scientific problem.