Three research priorities were formulated in 2018 to structure the scientific output of the Institute. They are meant to serve as interfaces towards the research units to further deepen their research and foster interdiscplinary collaboration.

Economics, Markets, and Governance

The source of our prosperity is economic activity, and economic activity depends on framework conditions such as institutions, regulations, and mechanisms of allocation and distribution. To function well, political criteria apply: effectivity, efficiency, fairness, and sustainability. Research at IHS looks at the relation between economic power and public services as well as the social impact of economic decisions within the following areas: macro-economics and transnational integration; tax and fiscal policy; socio-ecological transformation.

Associated Research Plattforms

Socio-Ecological Transformation

This platform elaborates on interaction processes of societies with nature, including material metabolism with nature - mediated through work - as well as the symbolic and cultural meaning making of nature. The manifold societal relationships with nature have become critical in the last decades and are described as socio-ecological crisis which needs to be encountered by a global sustainable development.

Transport and Mobility

This platform brings together scientific knowhow from several research groups at IHS.


Polarization versus Cohesion in Society

Demographics, politics, and culture constitute powerful societal dynamics. Potentially, these dynamics harbour tendencies leading to polarization, yet they can also be navigated in a way that strengthens cohesion in society. To achieve the latter and avoid the former, it is essential to understand causes of these dynamics and to appraise their leverage. At IHS, focus will be on the following dynamics: population development (aging, health and care, migration); inequality and exclusion; gender and diversity; democratic legitimacy, participation, public opinion; education and labor.

Associated Research Plattforms

Gender and Diversity

The platform links researchers who, in the context of the research groups established at IHS, work on issues of gender and diversity, internally and beyond.


Innovation and Societal Change

Countless technological, scientific, and social innovations enable societal change, and at the same time, change in society enforces innovations. Change does not necessarily always mean progress, however. It is crucial not only to contribute analyses that describe and estimate the problem, but also to offer viable solutions. The Institute focuses on the following areas in particular: responsibility in science and technology; measuring social progress; innovative technologies and digitalization.

Associated Research Plattforms

Science Goes Public

This platform will soon be established!

Social Sciences History

The platform establishes a regular meeting ground for researchers, bringing together historians of science as well as social scientists.