The Institute of Social Sciences (Instituto de Ciências Sociais - ICS), an Associated State Laboratory, is a university institution devoted to research and advanced training in the social sciences. Having originated in 1962 as an independent Social Science Research Group (GIS) founded by the pioneering Adérito Sedas Nunes, the ICS became an autonomous institute of the University of Lisbon in 1982 and acquired the status of Associated State Laboratory in 2002.
The mission of the ICS is to study contemporary societies with a special emphasis on Portugal and the societies and cultures with which Portugal has an historical relationship, either in Europe or in other regions of the world. Bringing together researchers from several different disciplines, the ICS currently focuses its research on five main subject areas: the formation of the contemporary world; the study of citizenship and democratic institutions; the problems of sustainability, linking the environment, risk and space; social changes and individual action in the context of the family, lifestyles and schooling; and issues concerning identity, migration and religion. The main subjects represented at the Institute are: Social and Cultural Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, Human Geography, History, Social Psychology and Sociology.
The central activities of the ICS include: publishing research in book form and in articles in Portuguese and international journals of reference; advanced education to the level of Masters' degrees and doctorates; maintaining a dialogue with the international scientific community; and spreading knowledge in the wider community, an increasingly important activity to ensure the necessary interaction between science and citizenship.