Engaging scientists through institutional histories

This brief from the Institutional Learning and Change Initiative (ILAC), describes the reasoning and methods for producing Institutional Histories (IH).

The paper clearly articulates the process for producing these documents and provides a number of tips and examples to support their development.


"An institutional history is a narrative that records key points about how institutional arrangements – new ways of working – evolve over time creating more effective ways to achieve goals. It can be used to document institutional innovations in projects and to highlight barriers to change. An institutional history draws out and synthesizes lessons for research organizations and partners as well as for others in similar circumstances." (Prasad, Hall & Thummuru, 2006)


  • What’s in a name?
  • Why are histories of these changes important?
  • Where does the approach come from?
  • How to produce an institutional history
  • Writeshops
  • Tips on producing institutional histories
  • Common mistakes in producing  institutional histories


Prasad, C. S., Hall, A., & Thummuru, L. ILAC, (2006). Engaging scientists through institutional histories (ILAC Brief 14).