The Institute for Comparative Labour Relations Research was established in 1994 in Moscow on the basis of a network of independent sociological research groups which have been working together since 1991. The Institute at present comprises four affiliated branches, in Kemerovo, Samara, Moscow and Syktyvkar, and has collaborative connections with researchers in Britain, Germany, Finland, Canada, the United States, Australia, Portugal and Greece as well as in a number of other Russian cities and regions. The Institute has a permanent collaboration agreement with the Centre for Comparative Labour Studies, University of Warwick, UK.

The principal focus of the work of the Institute and its branches is sociological research in all aspects of labour and employment relations: trade unions and industrial relations, politics of the workers' movement, industrial management, employment restructuring and the formation of a labour market. The Institute has established an international reputation for the application of ethnographic and case study methods of qualitative sociological research, which have not been applied in the past in Russia, but is also experienced in conducting survey research. All members of the Institute have been to the West for periods of research training and members regularly travel to the West to attend conferences and research seminars. The Institute holds its own research workshop every six months which is attended by all members of the Institute as well as by Russian and international collaborators. Seminars have been held in Moscow, Samara and Kemorovo, Athens, Syktyvkar and Warwick.

The Institute has been involved in a series of internationally and nationally funded academic research projects and the members of the Institute have published widely, individually and collectively, in Russian and in English, in books and academic journals. The Institute is responsible for a book series in Britain, Management and Industry in Russia, in collaboration with the Centre for Comparative Labour Studies, published by Edward Elgar. Projects have been financed by the British Economic and Social Research Council, the Overseas Development Administration, Westminster Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, INTAS, the Canadian Social Science Research Council and the Russian Fund for Fundamental Research. In addition the Institute and its branches have provided support for visiting researchers and research students from Britain, Canada and the United States.

On the basis of its academic reputation the Institute and its branches have also been commissioned to provide expert advice and to conduct policy-oriented research projects for local, national and international bodies, including the World Bank, ILO and ICFTU and advises and collaborates with a wide range of multilateral and national governmental agencies and labour and trade union organisations.

Current research projects in which the Institute is involved include research on the restructuring of the Russian coal-mining industry; social and political monitoring of the coal-mining regions; the restructuring of employment and the formation of a labour market; the development of trade unions and industrial relations in Russia; gender, work and employment in transition and the non-payment of wages in Russia.

The Institute and its branches are interested in developing further collaborative links with researchers in the field of labour and employment in Russia and in providing research and consultancy services for multilateral and Russian agencies in this field.