The HSG's institutes, research institutes and Centers have had a significant influence on the University of St.Gallen. They complement the five Schools, which are responsible for the degree courses and conduct basic research. The total of 29 institutes and research institutes are closely connected with the Schools and the University:
*The Institute of Insurance Economics is affiliated to two Schools.
The Institute for Legal Studies and Legal Practice (IRP-HSG) was established as the first institute of the HSG in 1938 – which makes it the oldest institute – under the name of Swiss Institute for Administrative Courses.
The function of the institutes and research institutes consists in working on scientific issues in their respective disciplines. They conduct applied research, in particular, and offer executive education courses. In addition, they provide third parties with services by, say, drawing up expert opinions or advising enterprises. Furthermore, institutes and research institutes are expected to support and supplement teaching at the University of St.Gallen in their respective disciplines. They cooperate with interested polities, enterprises and organisations, as well as with related institutes and research institutes at the University of St.Gallen. The institutes and research institutes make an important contribution to promoting young researchers. They train institute staff at the interface of academia and practice.
The institutes and research institutes are linked with the University in terms of finance, conceptualisation and human resources; their managing directors are part of the tenured faculty. Nonetheless, they operate as largely autonomous, entrepreneurially managed units and are self-financing. It is for this reason that each institute and each research institute has a "supervisory board" and an executive. However, the institutes are not legal entities in their own right.
Senate, the chairman is appointed by the University’s Board of Governors on application of the Senate. The functions of the “supervisory board” include the supervision of the institute’s or research institute’s activities, the approval of its strategy and its guidelines about the acceptance of orders, and decisions concerning the budget.
The "supervisory board" is made up of two to four faculty members of the University of St.Gallen and at least two extramural representatives from academia or practice. The members are appointed by the Senate, the chairman is appointed by the University’s Board of Governors on application of the Senate. The functions of the "supervisory board" include the supervision of the institute's or research institute's activities, the approval of its strategy and its guidelines about the acceptance of orders, and decisions concerning the budget.
The executive runs the current operations of the institute or the research institute, i.e. the managing director acts as the CEO and develops the strategy and the work programme, employs staff, etc. Further functions include drawing up the budget, the annual financial statements and the annual report. The executive consists of one or more faculty members who work for the institute or the research institute and who are appointed by the University’s Board of Governors on application of the Senate.
The institute and research institutes operate on a cost-covering basis. Costs are covered, in particular, by revenues generated through the provision of services, executive education courses, investments of institute resources and funds generated by the institute’s activities. Also, institutes and research institutes are able to accept donations from third parties for specific purposes. These have to be reported separately in the annual financial statements.
When a new institute or research institute is set up, the cantonal government has to approve its statutes, which stipulate whether it is an institute or a research institute. Thus the main difference between an institute and a research institute is the actual label.