History of BIPS
History of BIPS
BIPS is a UK charity and UK company limited by guarantee. It was founded in 1961 with the aim of promoting and encouraging the study of Iran, its history, civilisation, and culture in all periods of history. Much of BIPS research and work in its early years was in the field of archaeology.
In 1976 BIPS opened its purpose-built centre in northern Tehran, designed by Reza Khazeni architects. The Tehran centre houses an extensive library that exceeds 40,000 English and Persian language volumes, journals and periodicals as well as epigraphic material, maps, photographic and fieldwork archives; a unique resource that is open to Iranian students, scholars and members of the public. It is thought to be the largest collection of English language volumes in Iran. The Tehran centre remains one of the few overseas institutes continuing to operate in Iran. It also houses a hostel for the use of visiting academics and students. For information about Tehran, including the library opening times, catalogue and details of hostel stays please see here.
BIPS is one of a small number of British International Research Institutes funded by the British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences. BIPS is also a member organisation, with a world-wide membership, open to anyone with an interest in Iran and the Persianate world. For more information on becoming a member of BIPS, visit this page. By increasing our membership, or through donations, BIPS can further its reach and impact. Our funding from the Academy is subject to annual review, so by donating to BIPS or joining us, you help us secure our future. Donate here.
BIPS is run by its Governing Council; under the terms of our constitution, the majority of Governing Council members must be academics currently active in the field of Persianate studies and working at a higher educational institution. For more information on how BIPS is run, please see here.
Today, though its office in London and centre in Tehran, BIPS promotes and supports humanities and social sciences research excellence on Iran and the wider Persianate world and increases public understanding and knowledge of this region. BIPS defines the Persianate world as territories historically associated with Persian and Iranian culture and language: Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Transcaucasia, Iraq, the Persian Gulf littoral, and South Asia.
BIPS supports research in all aspects of humanities and social sciences, including but not limited to Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Classics, Cultural Studies, History, Language, Linguistics, Politics, Religious Studies, and Sociology. BIPS plays a key role in sustaining the academic vitality and increasing the visibility of the field of Persianate studies, promoting it to the public and campaigning for greater provision for its study in higher education.
BIPS core activities include the biannual awarding of research and travel grants. For more detail on how to apply for a BIPS grants please click here.
BIPS also arranges or supports seminars, lectures and symposia, as well as exclusive Members’ events, recitals and celebrations in the UK. For details of past and upcoming events please see our Events page.
BIPS has published its journal, IRAN, every year since 1963; BIPS members receive a copy of IRAN when it is published and will shortly also be able to access the journal online via this page. It also publishes a special series on Persianate studies in conjunction with Gingko Library.