TERI was formally established in 1974 with the purpose of tackling and dealing with the immense and acute problems that mankind is likely to face within in the years ahead
-on account of the gradual depletion of the earth's finite energy resources which are largely non-renewable and
- on account of the existing methods of their use which are polluting
Over the years the Institute has developed a wider interpretation of this core purpose and its application. Consequently, TERI has created an environment that is enabling, dynamic and inspiring for the development of solutions to global problems in the fields of energy, environment and current patterns of development, which are largely unsustainable. The Institute has grown substantially over the years, particularly, since it launched its own research activities and established a base in New Delhi, its registered headquarters. The central element of TERI's philosophy has been its reliance on entrepreneurial skills to create benefits for society through the development and dissemination of intellectual property. The strength of the Institute lies in not only identifying and articulating intellectual challenges straddling a number of disciplines of knowledge but also in mounting research, training and demonstration projects leading to development of specific problem-based advanced technologies that help carry benefits to society at large.
The Instituts growth has been evolutionary, driven by a vision of the future and rooted in challenges looming today, based on an approach that looks beyond the present and across the globe. TERI has, therefore, grown to establish a presence not only in different corners and regions of India but is perhaps the only developing country institution to have established a presence in North America and Europe and on the Asian continent in Japan, Malaysia and the Gulf.
The global presence and reach attained by TERI are not only substantiated by its presence in different parts of the world, but also in terms of the wide geographical relevance of its activities. Symbolic of this fact is the annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), a major event focusing on sustainable development, the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and assessment of worldwide progress in these critical areas. DSDS attracts the most prominent thinkers and practitioners in a range of fields that impinge on development. Since development worldwide is moving towards an architecture based on partnerships, the leaders who participate in DSDS come from government, business and industry, multilateral and bilateral organizations, research and academia and civil society. Encouraged by the success of DSDS, TERI has now established the World Sustainable Development Forum (WSDF), which is guided by the patronage of a group of select world leaders. WSDF would extend the experience of each DSDS to other parts of the world and carry out careful evaluation and monitoring of developments worldwide, particularly in meeting the MDGs.
The Institute established the TERI University in 1998. Initially set-up as the TERI School of Advanced Studies, it received the status of a deemed university in 1999. The University is a unique institution of higher learning exclusively for programmes leading to PhD and Masters level degrees. Its uniqueness lies in the wealth of research carried out within TERI as well as by its faculty and students making it a genuinely research based University.
TERI now has staff strength of over 900 dedicated employees, drawn from a range of disciplines and experience, supported by infrastructure and facilities, which are world class and distinctively state-of-the-art. The Institute continues to grow in size, spread and intensity of work undertaken.
In this world of increasing globalization and buoyed by optimism generated by the success of the Indian economy TERI moves forward to meet the challenges of the future through the pursuit of excellence embedded in its visionary charter.