IFIAS is an international network of leading research institutions which collaborate in addressing major global issues.
IFIAS was founded in 1972 with the support of prominent scientists and leading research institutions in developed and developing countries. The original purpose of IFIAS was to sponsor international, inter-disciplinary programmes and projects which were intended both to increase our understanding of global issues, and to influence policy at a national and international level. Its Secretariat was originally located in Sweden, but moved to Toronto, Canada, in 1986.
IFIAS continues to work with its members to organize programmes and projects addressing global issues. Increasingly, IFIAS activities are also intended to help its members address the strategic challenges facing institutions of advanced study, with the ultimate objective of increasing their contribution to society.
The work of IFIAS members covers the full spectrum of research, ranging from fundamental physics in India, to insect research in Africa, to futures studies in Denmark, to social science in South America, to remote sensing in the U.S. Some IFIAS members are long-established scientific institutions; others are young, innovative organizations exploring fresh approaches to traditional and new problems. IFIAS members include universities and affiliated research institutions, independent research organizations, and government research and policy organizations.
Until 1998, IFIAS received core funding from the Government of Canada. Its programmes and projects have traditionally been supported by its members, and by international aid agencies, foundations, organizations that are part of the UN system, and on occasion, corporations.