International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (IACFS)

The International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (IACFS) is an interdisciplinary association of Centers and Institutes throughout the world with interests in independent research and publication about political, constitutional, legal, administrative, fiscal, economic, historical and philosophical issues relevant to political systems which have federal features.

The Association seeks to further the study and understanding of federal principles and patterns in all their variety.

Find out more about the IACFS's goals

Associazione Osservatorio Sul Federalismo e i Processi Di Governo

Osservatorio sui processi di governo e sul federalismo, founded in 2000, is an autonomous centre of research focused mainly on federalism, regionalism, process of decentralisation and local government. Osservatorio, currently an Association of Social promotion, has always supported the scientific journal and it carries out inter and multidisciplinary research projects on complex fields which require knowledge from different disciplines, such as the territorial dimensions of subnational institutions of Italy, especially the governance of metropolitan and local areas. To this regard, Osservatorio monitors especially the evolution of the juridical setting of Rome and metropolitan cities. Moreover, Osservatorio cooperates with government Institutions and departments on Italian regionalism and provides expertise on issues such as the problem of differences between Northern and Southern Regions and the so called "regionalismo differenziato".

Center for Federal and Governance Studies

The Centre for Federalism and Governance Studies (CFGS) is a research and education centre within the College of Law and Governance Studies of Addis Ababa University. It has 11 fulltime academic members comprising of 4 associate professors, 6 assistant professors (all with PhD) and a lecturer. The CFGS was established in 2007 to serve as a center of excellence in the study of multilevel government systems (federalism, devolution, and local government) in Ethiopia and Africa. It now runs an interdisciplinary MA and PhD programs in federalism and governance and has produced over 100 MA and over 10 PhD graduates. It also provides short term trainings on federalism, devolution, local government and other governance related issues to officials and practitioners of countries in the Horn of African region, including Somalia, Yemen, the Sudan and South Sudan. It organises several seminars, workshops and conferences every year on topics that are linked to multilevel governance systems. The CFGS has its own building where it conducts classes and seminars.

Center for the Study of Federalism (CSF) at the Meyner Center for the Study of State & Local Government

The Center for the Study of Federalism (CSF) is a nonpartisan, interdisciplinary research and education institution dedicated to supporting and advancing scholarship and public understanding of federal theories, principles, institutions, and processes as practical means of organizing power in free societies. The Center is a founding member of IACFS. The Center’s best-known product is Publius: The Journal of Federalism. The Center has attracted diverse scholars and students to participate in its activities, generated many publications, and organized many conferences, workshops, and teacher institutes on diverse themes, especially American federalism and intergovernmental relations, comparative federalism, American political culture, covenant and politics, civil communities, cities of the American prairie, urbanization and suburbanization, human rights, and state constitutions.

Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (CCCS)

The Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (CCCS) is one of the Law School's specialist research centres and was established in the Faculty of Law in 1987. The CCCS undertakes and promotes research on the constitutional law and government of Australia and of other countries and has had a long-time specialist interest in the theory and practice of Australian and comparative federalism and intergovernmental relations. The CCCS provides a focal point for scholars and practitioners interested in these areas. It has an extensive network of contacts with shared interests, in Australia and globally; it hosts a vibrant visitors program; and it organises a wide range of seminars and conferences on constitutional issues throughout the year, many of which are connected with aspects of federalism.

Centre for Federal Studies (CFS)

Centre for Federal Studies is one of the departments/centres of Jamia Hamdard University, New Delhi. The centre is exclusively dedicated to comparative studies, researches and teachings on the dimensionalities of federal nation building in a multicultural setting. As an independent discipline of knowledge, federal studies has matured as: (i) a doctrine of state and nation building; (ii) noncentralized/decentralized governance; (iii) empowerment and welfarism; (iv) rights; and peace and conflict resolution. It promotes interface studies on ‘human capital and natural resource management’ from the perspective of federalism. Centre offers Master, M.Phil./Ph.D. programmes in federal studies and human rights. Process has been initiated to introduce Master programme in Public Policy and Governance. Centre has uniquely contributed to reorienting discourses on Indian federalism. As a resource centre, it has significantly contributed to the policy making by Government of India.

Centre on Governance

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, the University of Ottawa’s Centre on Governance (COG) has access to critical Canadian federal institutions. The mission of the COG is to better understand governance phenomena as well as contemporary administrative and policy problems affecting governmental and non-governmental actors. To achieve its mission, the COG produces, mobilizes, and disseminates knowledge in order to improve the functioning of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the design and implementation of public policies. The Centre comprises some fifty professors, affiliated researchers, and graduate students who work on topics related to the Centre's main lines of research, including federalism and multi-level governance. The Centre's research focus on federalism and multi-level governance addresses major contemporary political issues such as democracy, political legitimacy, the environment, diversity, and development.

Centro Interuniversitario di Finanze Regionale e Locale (CIFREL)

Cifrel was founded in 1988 by scholars belonging to several Italian universities to conduct applied researches on local and regional government. The centre produces both academic and policy oriented researches on key issues of public finance with a specific focus on multi-tiered level of government. The centre has an history of close collaboration with a variety of institutions, both private and public, and had produced several reports to inform and evaluate policymaking, specifically concerning regional and local public finance in Italy and in many other countries. Cifrel researchers are actively involved in the public debate on economic themes with their contribution disseminated through a variety of media (tv, newspapers, on-line).

Dullah Omar Institute

The Dullah Omar Institute started as the Community Law Centre in 1990. It was renamed as the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights in 2015. Through its work, it honours the life and legacy of its founding director, Adv. Dullah Omar, a stalwart of the struggle against Apartheid and the Minister of Justice in President Mandela’s Cabinet. It houses professorial and research staff with international reputations and runs masters and doctoral programmes in governance and human rights. The Institute comprises some 40 staff members and is headed by Prof Lukas Muntingh. It conducts applied research, postgraduate teaching and advocacy in four programmes: The Children’s Rights Project, headed by Prof Benyam Mezmur, supports the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Children’s Charter across the African continent. The Socio-Economic Rights Project promotes the realisation of socio-economic rights in Africa. The Africa Criminal Justice Reform headed by Prof Lukas Muntingh is leading research and advocacy on human rights-driven criminal justice reform in Africa, focusing on issues such as pretrial detention, torture and the criminalisation of poverty. Prof Tinashe Chigwata heads the Multilevel Government Project, which works closely with the South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Development (SARChI Chair). The Chair is an important feature of the Institute. Prof Jaap de Visser holds the SARChI Chair, and was the director of the Institute from 2013-2022. Prof Nico Steytler conceptualised and held the Chair from 2013-2022 and was the director of the Institute from 1994 – 2012. It focuses on the role of local authorities, provinces and regions to pursue development and peace in Africa and beyond.

Europäisches Zentrum für Föderalismusforschung (EZFF) / European Centre for Research on Federalism (ECRF)

The European Center for Research on Federalism (ECRF), established in 1993 by professors from various faculties and disciplines of the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, deals with different aspects of the territorial dimension of politics in Europe, including the European Union (understood as a multi-level system). In its activities, the ECRF puts emphasis on linking theory and practice, on transnational/international cooperation, and on an interdisciplinary approach. Amongst these activities are: doing research projects; organising conferences; cooperating with respective institutions worldwide and further developing this network; and, last not least, editing the following publications: The Yearbook of Federalism (NOMOS publisher, since 2000); The Book Series of the ECRF (NOMOS publisher, since 1994); The series “Occasional Papers” (published by ECRF, since 1994).

Institut für Föderalismus

As part of the efforts of the Länder in strengthening federalism in Austria Tyrol and Vorarlberg founded the Institute of Federalism in 1975. Later on, Upper Austria (in 2003), Lower Austria and Salzburg (both in 2019) joined the founding states as a supporting member. Since 2001 Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Bußjäger heads the institute. The institute conducts individual scientific research and asigns research contracts covering federal subjects as well as matters regarding European law. A number of publications, including the “Annual Report on Federalism in Austria“, cover the individual research results. Furthermore, the institute furnishes expert opinions and provides advice for decision-makers. These activities as well as data collection, documentation, information and public relations work contribute substantially to the continuous development of federalism.

Institut für Föderalismus / Institut du Fédéralisme / Institute of Federalism

The Institute of Federalism is a nationally and internationally renowned, politically independent centre of expertise in federalism, decentralisation, democracy and human rights. It is active in research, expertise, consultancy, and training with an aim of better understanding states and contributing to more legitimate and more effective governance. The Institute, founded by the Swiss Cantons, is part of the Faculty of Law of the University of Fribourg. It closely cooperates with the Confederation, the Cantons, the inter-cantonal conferences and the communes and with researchers from various disciplines. It focuses on the Swiss federal system, monitors its evolution and contributes to its development and is also active at the international level where it provides expertise, supports peace- and constitution-making processes, offers trainings, and welcomes guest researchers and delegations.

Institut für Öffentliche Finanzen und Public Management / Institute of Public Finance and Public Management

The Institute of Public Finance and Public Management currently consists of four professorships ( and two competence centres, the Competence Centre for Municipal Infrastructure in Saxony ( as well as the Competence Centre for Public Economics, Infrastructure and Public Services ( The Institute's research focuses on comparative fiscal federalism research, analysing financial relations in Germany, municipal finances and debt-limiting provisions. In addition to its focus on economics, the Institute is characterised by interdisciplinary research that encompasses aspects of political, administrative and legal sciences.

Institute for Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research, Bolzano/Bozen

The Institute for Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy, carries out comparative studies and applied research on federal, regional and local issues throughout Europe and on a global scale, from both legal and political science perspectives. More broadly, the Institute investigates governance of societal and territorial pluralism. It offers educational programmes and trainings and is active in consultancy, especially for international organizations. It is part of a wide academic network and welcomes guest researchers and delegations.

Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR)

IGSR is a non-profit, non-governmental research-oriented institute established to promote research on socio-political and economic problems of Africa in general, and of Nigeria, more specifically. Members of the IGSR include people from the academics, public and private sectors and practitioners in various fields of endeavour who are concerned about the sociopolitical and economic problems of Africa. The Institute was founded in 1994 with its headquarters located in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

Institute of Intergovernmental Relations

The Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen's University is Canada's premier university-based centre for research on all aspects of federalism and intergovernmental relations, both in Canada and in countries around the world. Over the years, it has been a leader in contributing to public debate on issues such as national unity, Canada-Quebec relations, fiscal federalism, constitutional reform, and the social union. Active in an international network of federalism scholars, IIGR was the first Canadian member of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies, which now has 24 institute members from six continents. Located in and working closely with the School of Policy Studies, as well as a number of Faculty Associates in other departments at Queen's University, the Institute is interdisciplinary in orientation, drawing on the latest research in political science, economics, philosophy, law, and sociology; providing a neutral venue to encourage dialogue among federal and provincial officials, key decision-makers and prominent scholars concerning many of the issues and challenges confronting the country.

Institute of Legal Research

The Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), is an academic entity which has the objective of conducting original and relevant research in the field of law and legal science with a multidisciplinary perspective. The main duties of the Institute are to: a. Conduct legal research focused primarily to the solution of national problems; b. Produce scientific information in connection with the different juridical disciplines; c. Provide support to teaching and research activities within the UNAM and with other national and international institutions. Around 30 researchers of this institute specialize on constitutional law and administrative law and include into their research agendas topics that have to do with federalism-related matters. More specifically, 7 researchers form part of the research group on: “Mexico’s federalism after the transition to democracy: law, public policies and social environment”.

Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali Federali e sulle Autonomie ''Massimo Severo Giannini'' (ISSiRFA)

The Institute for the Study of Regionalism and Self Government “Massimo Severo Giannini” (ISSiRFA) was founded in 1971, along with the establishment of the Italian ordinary regions. The Institute carries out multidisciplinary research activities in the fields of public law, political science, fiscal studies and economics. The main research topics are: regionalism, federalism and autonomies in current constitutional systems; the tools and characteristics of autonomy at the constitutional, legislative, and administrative level; the structural and functional intergovernmental relationships. The Institute owns a systematic collection of national legislation and manages a specialized library.

Ituna Center for Basque Economic Agreement and Fiscal Federalism Studies

The Center, founded in 2007, specializes in the field of fiscal federalism and self-government. It is a university research and knowledge diffusion Center, attached to the Department of Contemporary History of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The Departments of Public Law, Financial Economy and Didactics of the Social Sciences also participate in the Center. The main goal of the Ituna Center is to conduct research and promote scientific production related to the Basque Economic Agreement, the Basque fiscal system and systems of fiscal federalism or fiscal decentralization in general; situating the singular Basque case in the currents of international research on fiscal federalism.

John Curtin Institute of Public Policy

The John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP), established in 2004, is a research centre within Curtin University’s Faculty of Business and Law. The JCIPP undertakes high quality research, provides relevant education tailored to the public sector, and promotes public debate and discussion on a range of public policy issues. Its academic staff have published widely on federalism, intergovernmental relations, and state and national politics. They also supervise PhD students conducting research in federalism. The Institute has hosted many visiting federalism scholars, and has several high profile Adjuncts with backgrounds in Australian government and politics. The JCIPP is closely associated with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, and partners regularly with the Forum of Federations.

Research Group on Federalism and Conflict Resolution

Federalism as a tool of conflict resolution has become an increasingly important and studied themes of federal studies in recent years. The Research Group on Federalism and Conflict Resolution at Canterbury Christ Church University examines the fundamental questions raised by the use of federalism as a tool of conflict resolution through an internationally comparative lens: Why is federalism a useful tool for conflict resolution, in which cases can a federal framework be applied to resolve conflict and under what circumstances do federal structures succeed as a tool of conflict resolution? In doing so, we look at federalism through different methodological and disciplinary perspectives, including peace studies, international relations, comparative politics, constitutional law, political economy, and sociological perspectives. The work of the research group revolves around five main themes: Conflict Resolution, Governance in Divided Societies, Identity Politics, New Federal Models and Territorial Politics. The Group’s aims can be defined by the triad of teaching, scholarship/research and consultancy. We offer a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses linked to federalism and conflict resolution, most notably our annual summer school on "Federalism, Conflict Resolution and Good Governance." We have also been involved in consultancy projects, specifically in Myanmar where we have worked for a number of years with different stakeholders to support federalism reforms in the country. The research group is also responsible for the website which publishes short and easily accessible pieces on different aspects of federalism in the world.

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