IEPHI is a research and educational institution with the purpose of producing and disseminating knowledge on contemporary political issues. It was created in 2015 as a consequence of a merger of the Institute of Economic and Social History (IHES) and the Institute of Political and International Studies (IEPI). Lecturers and researchers affiliated with the institute come from several scientific disciplines. Obviously, political science is widely represented, just as its different areas of specialisation: public policies, political sociology, international relations, Swiss and comparative politics, political behaviours (parties, elections and voting, social movements, interest groups), political institutions. But the institute also includes historians, specialists of both international history and history of political thought, as well as economists who deal more specifically with the area of history of economic theories. The Institute of Political, Historical and International Studies (IEPHI) provides a resolute interdisciplinary profile – notably through the importance assigned to the historical perspective – thus standing out from other scientific institutions or departments with a narrower conception of political science.
Research activities within the institute are structured around five specialised research units that produce studies on governance and public action, collective action, elections, globalisation, and history of political and economic thought. IEPHI also hosts two observatories, one dealing with Swiss elites and the other with regional political affairs in Switzerland. It is highly involved in several research projects supported by main funding agencies, both at the national and the international level. It further hosts an important documentation centre dedicated to Swiss political affairs, with particular attention to the French speaking part of Switzerland.
Finally, IEPHI provides full university education in political science – bachelor, master and doctorate – with degree programmes including a strong interdisciplinary dimension and specialisation options related to the areas of expertise of the members of the institute. It is furthermore closely involved in the master in “Public Management and Policy” (PMP), jointly established by the law and the social and political sciences faculties, as well as in the doctoral programme of the University Conference of Western Switzerland (CUSO).