Founded on February 28, 1932, S.I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology of Russian Academy of Sciences (IHST RAS) was based on the Soviet Commission for the History of Knowledge (‘KIZ’). Today the full name of the Institute, which in 1991 was named after Academician S.I. Vavilov, is Federal state budgetary institution of science S.I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology of Russian Academy of Sciences, operating under Federal Agency of Scientific Organizations.

The history of the Institute is connected with such outstanding scientists and public figures as a great scientist Academician V.I. Vernadskii; Academician A.S. Lappo-Danilevskii; a distinguished politician Academician N.I. Bucharin; Permanent Secretary of the RAS S.F. Oldenburg; Academicians V.V. Osinsky, S.I. Vavilov, B.N. Yuryev; Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences X.S. Koshtoyants; President of the USSR Academy of Sciences V.L. Komarov.

The first director of IHST was Academician N.I. Bucharin. Among subsequent directors of the Institute were: Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Professor I.V. Kuznetsov; Professor N.A. Figurovskii; Academician B.M. Kedrov; Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Dr. S.R. Mikulinskii; Academician V.S. Styopin; Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences N.D. Ustinov; Professor B.I. Kozlov; Professor V.M. Oryol; Professor Dr. A.V. Postnikov; Corresponding Member of the RAS Yu.M. Baturin; Dr. D.Yu. Shcherbinin. Now the Institute is headed by Doctor of Historical Sciences R.A. Fando.

Currently over 150 employees work in the Institute (among them there are 1 Corresponding Member of the RAS, 30 Doctors and 55 Candidates of Science). The Institute comprises 7 Departments, scientific sectors, problem groups, analytic centers as well as the Saint-Petersburg branch of IHST RAS. IHST is a unique interdisciplinary collective: here work the representatives of more than 17 different scientific specialties, which covers almost the whole range of fundamental areas of natural sciences, technical sciences and the humanities.

The Institute’s main objective is to conduct the fundamental and applied research in the field of history of science and technology and in science studies. The key strands of IHST’s activities are: history of natural sciences; history of technology and technical sciences; historiography and source studies of the history of science and technology; history of the RAS and scientific institutions; identification, studies and classification of the monuments of science and technology; organisation and coordination of exhibition activities of the RAS and its institutions, biographies of outstanding scientists and the technological and engineering activity in the context of history of the world civilization; in the field of science studies: the study of major factors of influence of the society on the development of scientific and technical knowledge, dynamics of scientific policy according to the change of social conditions, various aspects of psychology of natural science and technical creativity.

Studies are being carried out, devoted to the analysis of various concepts in the history of science, history of organisation of centres and associations for the history of science, as well as to the life and work of historians of science and technology. Thus, the works dedicated to scientific heritage of G.F. Müller, V.I. Vernadskii, T.I. Rainov, S.L. Sobol, N.I. Vavilov, V.P. Karpov, I.B. Pogrebysskii, V.P. Zubov, A.P. Yushkevich, N.A. Figurovskii, S.I Vavilov have already been published. Modern science is also an object of professional analysis in the sphere of psychology, sociology, and economics of science. The topics covered by IHST include the structure of research fronts of various disciplines; the state of and trends in the development of information environment of contemporary Russian science; psychological factors of the emergence, development, and dissolution of scientific schools; as well as the values, motivations, and interpersonal relations within contemporary scientific community in Russia; the Soviet nuclear project; regional history of science and technology; the history of ecology (environmental science); Russian scientists abroad.

IHST is not only a team of researchers but also a unique collection of information resources in history of science and technology studies. The Institute owns extensive collections of books (both in Moscow and Saint Petersburg), the Ikonotheca, the archives of written documents and oral history, a photoarchive. The Institute publishes the journal “Voprosy istorii estestvoznania i tekhniki (Issues in the History of Science and Technology)”, the Scientific Biographies series, the Annuals devoted to the history of individual disciplines. In addition to that, dozens of books and hundreds of papers are published annually. The Institute has the state license for postgraduate education in the specialty 07.00.10 – “history of science and technology”. The Institute’s Center of computer telecommunications is in charge of its website and of  the personal webpages of its employees.

IHST pays great attention to coordinating the work in the field of history of the science and technology which is carried out in Russia and other countries. IHST is a leading center of international cooperation in the sphere of historical, scientific and technical research. Many scholars of IHST are full members of the international academies, associations, unions, societies in history of science and technology, winners of prestigious international awards and medals, members of international editorial boards of foreign journals and serial publications. Researchers from IHST participate in the international research projects together with their colleagues from various countries. The Institute as a part of RAS is a member of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST). The international academic links of the Institute are under active development, and its activities are already widely known in many countries of the world.