Our goal is to promote top-quality academic research by implementing funded projects, establishing research centres, organizing seminars and conferences, running continuing education courses, and publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals and monographs. In addition, we organize guest lectures that are open to the public and engage in public discourses of contemporary matters.
The founding director of the Institute was Alois Riklin, who chaired it from 1986 until 2001. From 2005 to 2014, the Institute was headed by James W. Davis (managing director) and Daniele Caramani. After Daniele Caramani moved to the University of Zurich in 2014, James W. Davis served as the only director—until Tina Freyburg joined the Institute beginning of 2019. Since then James W. Davis and Tina Freyburg jointly direct the Institute.