Following Pera Museum, founded in 2005, İstanbul Research Institute is the second significant step in the wide spectrum of culture and arts projects Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation has pioneered in the fields of culture, arts, education, and healthcare since its establishment in 2003.
The renowned capital of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations, İstanbul is the foremost starting point in discovering its identity as a megalopolis, or "mega city," shaped over thousands of years, as well as in exploring the diverse cultural geographies surrounding the city. Therefore, İstanbul Research Institute follows the traces of civilization from the center towards the periphery, focusing on the cultural structure and the human profile, including Byzantine, Ottoman, and the Republican periods of İstanbul. In doing so, the Institute aims to develop and support projects in light of these relevant research areas and to organize local and international conferences and symposia, consequently sharing the results with relevant institutions and the public through media.
İstanbul Research Institute continues to exist within the premises of a historical building constructed in Tepebaşı by architect Guglielmo Semprini in the 19th century. Aside from its gallery, designed to carry the exhibitions the establishment produces, the institute houses a library accessible to the public, as well as an Information-Documentation Center. Through these sub-divisions, İRI is designed as a research institution, which strives to represent İstanbul on an international platform, while upholding contemporary scientific criteria.