The ICS is a research center and graduate school in social science theory and methodology. In the ICSĀ the sociology departments of the universities of Groningen (RUG), Utrecht (UU), Nijmegen (RU), and University of Amsterdam (UvA) cooperate. In addition to these sociology departments, the Utrecht research program ERCOMER and the Nijmegen Institute for Social Cultural Research of the Faculty of Social Sciences (NISCO) of the Radboud University Nijmegen cooperate in the ICS.

The ICS is is headed by a board and a scientific director, who represent the participating universities.

An important goal of the ICS is to recruit the most talented junior researchers and train them to become excellent independent social scientists. PhD students are located either in Groningen, Utrecht, Nijmegen or Amsterdam. The PhD Training Program takes place in all four locations: courses are given in Groningen, Utrecht and Nijmegen, and Amsterdam.