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IFS 50th Anniversary

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) was founded in 1969. For the last 50 years, we have been fortunate to employ some of the brightest and best researchers and have collaborated with renowned academics on new economic theories and techniques as well as providing high quality, politically independent commentary and analysis to policy-makers and the media. Initially established to inform and improve UK tax policy-making through evidence and research, our remit and expertise has significantly widened over time. We now cover important topics such as education, health, public finances, retirement, consumer behaviour, overseas development, tax, inequality and poverty and we aim to freely publish all of our research and much of our data so that other researchers and those working in relevant fields can fully scrutinise and benefit from our work.   

"I remain as convinced today of the need for, and value of, organisations like the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as did its founders just over half a century ago." 

Paul Johnson, IFS Director

Moving forwards, we are now established as the UK’s leading independent microeconomic research institute and we are also an award-winning 'think-tank'. In 2018, we were awarded prestigious 'Institute' status from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), recognising us as a "global centre of excellence" that has made a significant contribution to the social science landscape. That same year, we were cited in excess of 30,000 times by the UK media and we helped to inform policy debate through hundreds of broadcast interviews and a large series of public events, workshops and conferences. We gave policy evidence in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and researchers played key roles in the Social Security Advisory Committee, Intergenerational Commission and Social Metrics Commission amongst others.            

It is this reputation for academic rigour, policy impact, high quality communications and absolute independence that we are exceptionally proud of and we look forward to another 50 years of working closely with stakeholders from academia, third sector, business, the media and government with the ultimate aim of championing good evidence and improving the way that policies are designed and evaluated.      

Please see below some information about planned activities to mark our 50th anniversary and do keep in touch with us on Twitter and elsewhere using #IFSat50.     

IFS at 50: The future of policy series 

The British economy is going to face a number of big issues over the next fifty years. Whether it is reforming the tax and benefit system, managing an ageing population, or preparing for the workplace of the future, there are plenty of challenges and opportunities ahead.

This series of events, organised to mark our 50th anniversary, will draw on our experience to consider these big issues and discuss what evidence-based analysis can tell us about how to understand and respond to them. Each event will feature expert insight from IFS researchers and key commentators, each of whom will discuss likely developments, opportunities and challenges for policy in the years to come. 

Upcoming events

3rd April: The future of tax

25th June: The future of income in retirement

28th October: The future of education (More information coming soon)

3rd December: The future shape of the state (More information coming soon)

All events will be held at the Royal Institution in central London from 18:30 – 20:00, and will be followed by a drinks reception. For more information on each, and to book your place, please visit the individual event pages by clicking on the topics above.

For our first event, we discussed the future of benefits. Watch the full session below.

IFS 50th birthday celebration!

On the evening of 9th May (18:30 - 22:00), we'll be celebrating our 50th anniversary with a public event and drinks reception at One Birdcage Walk in Westminster, where a panel of past and present IFS Directors and researchers will look back at the history of IFS and ahead to the big economic challenges that we'll be covering over the next 50 years. We are delighted that Robert Chote (OBR), Evan Davis (BBC), Andrew Dilnot, John Kay and Jennifer Rubin (ESRC) will be joining us on the evening. 

If you would like to come and celebrate our birthday with us, please email us at to secure a place. 

Read more

To commemorate our 50th anniversary, Paul Johnson reflects on why independent thinking is essential for holding governments to account and bridging the gap between academia and policymakers.