The Research Programme is The Institute's primary means of advancing its knowledge and understanding so as to improve the effectiveness of 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 to inform the projects and programmes it is delivering; or when specifically commissioned by clients. The Institute's Research Programme combines input from government, academia and the corporate world. As well as in-depth research into specific topics, The Institute particularly encourages and enables cross-disciplinary research as a means of stimulating creative thinking.