The Research Programme is The Institute's primary means of advancing its knowledge and understanding and underpinning its practical activities. An extensive research network of specialists, academics and practitioners based in the UK and abroad provides The Institute with its ability to map the rapidly evolving global environment, to assess the impact of current trends on society and on national and international institutions, and to implement effective solutions.

Research is undertaken either on the personal initiative of staff and Fellows; as part of The Institute's Research Programme; or when specifically commissioned by clients. The Institute encourages and enables cross-disciplinary research, as well as in-depth research into specific topics. The Institute's Research Programme combines input from government, academia and the corporate world.