The guiding framework for OIC’s research programme is its concern to understand and influence the phenomenon, policy and practice behind charity. The programme is being developed with two principles in mind:


  • To address major, pressing and contentious issues surrounding the governance of charity globally, whilst meeting the highest academic standards.
  • To be of practical value to funders and charity leaders by involving them in defining key problems, and engaging them in the research and its application. This value is greatest when the research is independent and impartial.


The broad range of academic disciplines likely to be involved in the research include:

  • Historians seek to understand the ways in which charity has changed over time and how it operates in specific national and temporal contexts.
  • Philosophers can illuminate the tensions between charity, social justice and competing ethical priorities.
  • Political scientists, public policy experts, and legal scholars provide views on formulating appropriate government policy and legal frameworks for third sector activity to ensure best practice.
  • Business and innovation scholars provide insights into wealth creation, good practices in donation delivery, and improved assessment of impact.
  • Management experts delve into the similarities and contrasts between public, private, and third sector leadership. In addition, they highlight the particular hurdles of fundraising and charity administration.
  • Economists provide insights into how giving is affected by changing economic and fiscal conditions and the ways in which it responds to incentives. Charity is also of interest to behavioural psychologists and neuroscientists alike.
  • Psychologists help analysis of personal generosity and altruism.
  • Sociologists, anthropologists and scholars of religion and culture explain broader propensities to give, volunteer and lead.

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