The Institute for the Study of Developing Areas came into being with the initiative of a community of teachers belonging to various Universities and colleges of Kerala. The institute published its first academic initiative, the ISDA Journal, in 1991. Since then, the journal and the institute together have completed three decades of incessant publication of research articles in the areas of development and public policy. The institute organised series of academic activities like organising of lecture classes, seminars and workshops in various topics of social relevance. The institute also initiated several orientation training and capacity building programs for teachers, researchers and skill development courses for the rural unemployed.