Established in 1961 as an administrative unit of the Cantonal administration (DFE) as the Office of Economic Research (URE) with the task of observing trends in the regional economy, in 1990 the Office became the Institute for Economic Research (IRE). In 1996, IRE relocated to Lugano, at the newly established Università della Svizzera italiana and soon after, in 1998, it was officially recognised as an Institute of the Faculty of Economics. In the sequel, the research activities were organised according to a pure university logic with the integration of PhD students and post-docs. Thanks to the four-year cantonal service contracts stipulated with the DFE – unicum at USI – since 2005 the Institute has been able to expand scientific research, further developing its applied research activities for the economy and cantonal institutions.