Institute for Social Research (ISF)

Institute for Social Research (ISF)

The Institute for Social Research seeks to create an inter-disciplinary research environment without sharp distinctions between basic and applied research.

The Institute for Social Research (ISF) was established as an independent foundation in 1950. Ever since its foundation the institute has been multidisciplinary in its orientation, today comprising research within all of the social sciences, as well as history. Today ISF provides one of the few social science fora outside the universities in which has not limited itself to the study of one single sector of society. The history of the institute and its current position in Norwegian social research bears witness to its desire to avoid sharp distinctions between basic and applied research. The interplay between basic and applied research is reflected in the position of ISF as a contract research institute with high academic ambitions. This is also mirrored in the close contact with the University of Oslo and the Research Council of Norway on the one hand, and with several ministries and private sector agencies on the other. The third aim of the institute is to contribute to the recruitment and training of young researchers. One of the primary tasks of the five research directors is supervision and planning in order to foster long term careers in research.

The Research Council of Norway is the most important source of funding. The funding consists of a basic grant, programmes and projects that ISF has won in competition with other research institutes. Other important sources are professional and industrial organisations, ministries and governmental institutions. Researchers at ISF also take part in international networks and projects financed by the EU and the Nordic Council.

The board The ISF board has six members. While the Research Council of Norway appoints one member, the University of Oslo and the ISF board members appoint two each. ISF staff elect one member.

The research projects are divided into five areas:

  1. Employment and working conditions
  2. Gender and society
  3. Civil society in transition
  4. Political institutions, voting and public opinion
  5. International migration, integration and ethnic relations

Main objectives

  • to study social and political change
  • to develop skills and methods for analysing social conditions
  • to inform and create understanding of social structures and change

Related individual researchers

  • Karl Henrik Sivesind
  • Dag Wollebæk
  • Kari steen-Johnsen
  • Guro Ødegåd
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Associated individual members

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