The Irkutsk Scientific Center was founded by Order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 1138-r of 01.02.1949 and by resolution of Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences of 24.02.1949 as the East-Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. It became part of the Siberian Division of the USSR Academy of Sciences established in 1957.
The establishment of the East-Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences marked the beginning of the formation of the academic sector of science in Irkutsk oblast. The branch included the Institute of Geology, Institute of Energy and Chemistry, the Biological Sector, and the Geographical-Economic Sector.
In 1991, the Branch was renamed Irkutsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Branch of RAS.
By resolution of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences No. 262 of 13.12.2011 the Institution of the Russian Academy of Sciences “Irkutsk Scientific Centre of RAS” was renamed the Federal State Budgetary Institution of Science “Irkutsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences”.
The mission of ISC SB RAS is to conduct, organize and coordinate basic, exploratory and applied research, including research efforts aimed at solving the most important problems of socio-economic development of Irkutsk oblast and the Baikal region.
Within the framework of the Federal Target Program "Development of the water management complex of the Russian Federation during 2012‒2020", research projects were implemented to justify the permissible range of fluctuations of the lake Baikal level (Irkutsk reservoir), with due regard for technical possibilities for regulation and socio-economic restrictions in the lower pool of the Irkutsk hydroelectric power plant for normal, extremely high and extremely low hydraulicity as well as to assess the impact on the transboundary Selenga river basin within the borders of the Russian Federation in view of the plans to construct hydroelectric facilities in Mongolia; science-based proposals were prepared for improvement of stability of the water management system of the Angara river basin.
From 2015 to 2020, ISC SB RAS was involved in implementation of the integration program "Basic research and breakthrough technologies as the basis of advanced development of the Baikal region and its inter-regional relations" along four directions: power generation industry, integrated development of natural resources and innovative technologies for extraction and deep processing of minerals under natural-climatic conditions of Siberia and the Far North; innovative materials and technologies, including those for the defense industry, organic synthesis, pharmaceutics and medical chemistry; dynamics of hazardous natural processes in East Siberia and neighboring territories, ecosystem stability and quality of life in implementation of major infrastructure projects; scientific justification of the protection of Lake Baikal and socio-economic development of the Baikal natural territory.
The primary goal of the program is to generate fundamental knowledge and develop of advanced high-tech technologies for all stages of the production process: from the search, extraction, and deep processing of raw materials to the environmental protection and improvement of the quality of life of the local population in the interests of priority development of the Baikal region.
The Department of Regional Economic and Social Problems developed the concept of socio-economic modernization of the Baikal region, based on enhancing integration in the energy sector, processing industries and the consumer sector.
The Department of Biomedical Research and Technology (founded in 2012) is conducting successful investigations in the domain of translational medicine, aimed at the maintenance and improvement of human health.
ISC SB RAS is implementing measures in support of the activities of the Academy’s institutions in the region. Since 2015, the Irkutsk Oblast Governor’s Coordinating Scientific Council has operated; regional competitions under the aegis of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research have been held, a General Meeting of researchers working in the academic institutions of Irkutsk oblast has been instituted.
An important mission of ISC SB RAS is to support and develop the infrastructure in order to ensure a proper operation of the institutions, social facilities and the housing complex of Akademgorodok. The entities rendering scientific services are the Central Scientific Library, the Scientific Archives, the Department of Scientific and Educational Activities and Expert Assessment (established in 2017), which includes the Department of Foreign Languages and Philosophy, the Department of Pedagogy, and the Bureau of Academic Translation.
In 2018, the 55th anniversary of Akademgorodok was solemnly celebrated, the сentral square of the neighborhood unit, parks, alleys and areas in front of buildings renovated; the Memorial Sign for academic science of Irkutsk was installed.
The structural divisions of ISC SB RAS (District Electric Network and Heat-Water-Sewage Services, and mechanical workshops) continually supervise electric networks and substations, and heat-water-sewage systems of Akademgorodok.