The core research programme of the IBO consists of historical research with a strong social science/ interdisciplinary component. The programme started with the Transnational Research Group – Poverty Reduction and Policy for the Poor between the State and Private Actors: Education Policy in India since the Nineteenth Century (2013-17). Since then, four research themes, which have emerged from contemporary societal and political concerns in India, form the research agenda of the IBO. These are:
- History and sociology of education and its relationship with poverty
- Labour history
- Politics of history and heritage and
- Movement of peoples, ideas and images.
These themes are realised by means of individual and group projects.