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Prof Sophie Gilliat-Ray 

Education and Qualifications

1994 Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter

1992 M.A. in Interfaith Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter (with Distinction)

1991 B.A. (Joint Hons) Theology & Religious Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter, (First Class)

Career Overview

2010 – present, Cardiff University, Reader in Religious & Theological Studies

2007 2010, Cardiff University, Senior Lecturer in Religious & Theological Studies

2005 – present,  Cardiff University, Director, Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK                       

2004 – 2007, Cardiff University, Lecturer in Religious & Theological Studies

1999 – 2004, Cardiff University, School of Religious and Theological Studies, Cardiff Research Fellow

1998 – University of Exeter, Research Fellow in Sociology

1994 – 1997, University of Warwick, Research Fellow, Department of Sociology and part-time tutor, Institute of Education

Teaching Profile


‘Islam in the Contemporary World’ (2001-2007)

‘Religion in Modern Britain (2002-present)


MA – Islam in Contemporary Britain (2005-present)

MTh Chaplaincy Studies (2003-2007)

Awards and Prizes

  • In March 2006, I was given an ‘Award for Excellence’ by The Muslim News (the largest circulation national newspaper for British Muslims) for my work in the field of ‘Education’.

Membership and External Activity

  • Association of Muslim Social Scientists (member of the Advisory Board 1998-2002; member of the Executive Committee 2002-3)
  • Member of the editorial board for the international journal Fieldwork in Religion (2005 – present), and Contemporary Islam (2009 – present)
  • Chair of the Advisory Board, ‘Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations’ (CRER), University of Warwick, 2005 – 2011)
  • British Sociological Association ‘Sociology of Religion Study Group’, Convenor (1997-2000).
  • Muslims in Britain Research Network, Co-ordinator (with Professor Jorgen Nielsen, Birmingham University, and Dr Sean McLoughlin, Leeds University), 2003- 2007. 
  • Co-ordinating visits by national and international scholars/researchers to the Islam-UK Centre, Cardiff University:

Angelo Pittalugua (supervision of visiting PhD student, University of Genoa, January-April 2007)

Marta Warat (supervision of visiting PhD student, Jagellonian University, Poland, November-December 2007)

Wendy Martineau (ESRC postdoctoral scholar)

Vincent Biondo (Fulbright Scholar, California State University, Fresno, January-July 2009)

  • Trustee of ‘Cambridge Muslim College’ (directed by Abdul Hakim Murad/Tim Winter, University of Cambridge), from 2009
  • Higher Education Academy Islamic Studies Network, Advisory Board member (2009 to present)
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Islamic Foundation, Leicester (2011 to present)
  • Regular examination of PhD and MPhil degrees


vi) Professional Consultancy & Recognition

  • Consultant for the NHS (E) Northern and Yorkshire Chaplains and Pastoral Care Committee document ‘A Framework for Spiritual, Faith and Related Pastoral Care’, December 1995.
  • Consultant for the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts document Spiritual Care in the NHS, December 1996
  • Consultant for the Diocese of Birmingham (supervision of post-ordination training project)
  • Consultant for Religions in the UK - a Multi-Faith Directory, (University of Derby/Inter-Faith Network for the UK)
  • Consultant to Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Sheffield for a one-year project: ‘Responding to Change: Health Care Chaplaincy in the NHS (1999-2000)
  • Consultant to Joseph Rowntree funded project, 2004-5
  • Consultant to AHRB-funded project, University of Leeds, 2005
  • Member of the Home Office Task Force on ‘Preventing Extremism’ (‘Education’ working group) (2005)
  • In 2005, I was nominated as one of 14 ‘star’ researchers in Cardiff University
  • Member of the Steering Group for the HEFCE project on ‘Islam in Universities in England’ (The Siddiqui Report) 2007
  • Member of the national Advisory Group for the Muslim Faith Leaders Review (Communities and Local Government) 2008-9
  • Regular invitations to referee book proposals for academic publishers: SAGE (London), Ashgate (Aldershot), Palgrave-Macmillan (Basingstoke), Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh), Routledge (London)
  • Regular invitations to referee for peer review journal articles (Journal of Contemporary Religion, British Journal of Religious Education, Review of Religious Research, Sociology, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences)
  • Regular invitations to referee grant proposals for ESRC, AHRC, King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation
  • Consultant to the ‘Four Generations Project’, Somali Integration Society, Cardiff (from 2009)
  • Nominee of the ‘Muslim Council of Britain’, to attend the Queen’s Garden Party, Buckingham Palace, 2009 in recognition of my research on Islam and Muslims in Britain
  • Contributions to the AHRC/ESRC ‘Religion and Society’ Programme more widely (e.g. publications arising from the Programme), participation in a doctoral training conference, advising and contributing to other Programme-related events and projects (e.g. workshops in Lancaster, Cambridge University research on University-Community engagement).

Notable Achievements

2009 – secured funding from Mr Yousef Jameel to support the Cardiff University Jameel Scholarship Programme

(supporting 2 fully-funded PhD students and 9 MA students over 3 years in the area of Islam and Muslims in Britain. 

2012 – renewal and expansion of the Jameel

Scholarship Programme to 2015 (12 MA; 3 PhD and 3-year full-time Postdoctoral Fellowship).


Prison Service Chaplaincy Training Conference on Other Faiths, 1995, 1996

Association for Ministerial Training in a Multi-faith Society Annual Conference, Derby 1995

International Interfaith Centre Annual Conference, Oxford, 1995

BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conferences, 1995, 1996, 1997

Howard League for Penal Reform Annual Conference, Oxford, 1995

Paper for the ‘Islam in Britain’ lecture series at The Muslim College, London, June 1995

Staff development training on Islam and Muslims, Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham, 1997

British Association for the Study of Religions, 1995, 1997, 2004

Centre for European Studies, University of Exeter, 1997

British-American College, London, 1998

Centre for the Study of the Christian Church, University of Exeter, 1998

Inter-Disciplinary Seminars in the Study of Religion, University of Oxford, 1999

Centre for the Study of Theology, University of Essex, 1999

Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, 1999

Spiritual Care in the NHS conference, Sheffield University, November 2000

Queen’s Theological College, Birmingham, 2001

Bradford University, 2002

BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group, Postgraduate Conference, 2003

Open University, February 2003

University of Central Lancashire ‘Employability’ conference 2004

Islam in Higher Education conference, (PRS-LTSN, AMSS, CSIC), 2005

Association of Muslim Professionals, 2005

Britain and the Muslim World, University of Exeter, April 2009

Integration of Muslim Communities in Germany and Great Britain, German Embassy, London, May 2009

Muslims in Britain Research Network, London, January 2010

Prison Service Chaplaincy Training Conference, Wakefield, March 2010

AHRC/ESRC ‘Innovative Methods’ conference (Religion and Society/NORFACE), London, March 2010

Association of Muslim Professionals, Cardiff, April 2010

Royal Holloway, University of London, public lecture series on Muslim Youth, April 2010

St Michael’s College, Prison Chaplaincy Conference, July 2010

Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, November 2010

Beyond Belief Religion and Belief in Professional Practice, Bradford, September 2011

British Muslim Youth (Religion and Society Programme), Manchester November 2011

International Conferences

SISR Conference, Toulouse, 1997

Swiss Association for the Study of Religions, Lucerne, 2008

I contribute to a biannual international workshop on ‘Political Islam’ held at SOAS, London, (November 2008; May 2009, November 2009, April 2010; April 2011).

World Botanic Gardens Congress, Dublin, June 2010 (with Mark Bryant)

International workshop on religion in prisons, Swiss Sociological Association, Lausanne, September 2010

Dutch Association for the Study of Religions, October 2010

International workshop on religion in prisons, École Normale Supérieure  Cachan, Paris, September 2011

‘Making European Muslims’ conference, University of Copenhagen, October 2011

‘How public institutions deal with diversity’, Social Science Research Centre, Berlin, May 2012