The idea of establishing the Institute dates back to late 80's, when the initiative was taken to create Poland a modern research institute involved in the molecular and cellular research in biomedicine. On the initiative of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) and supported by the State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN), in 1995 an international agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and UNESCO was signed establishing the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB). The Institute began its independent scientific activity on 1 January 1999.
Institute organizational objectives are contained in the Parliamentary Bill of 1997, which provides the legal basis of IIMCB functioning. To be in line with internationally accepted trends several distinctive features of IIMCB should be noted. The principles of organization of the Institute also differ from other research institutes in the country: an important body of the Institute is the International Advisory Board, acting as the Scientific Council; the leader of each research team of the Institute is selected in an international competition; group leader’s initial employment is limited to a five-year contract; three years after beginning the research work, progress of research is assessed by the International Advisory Board. Based on IAB’s recommendation professor’s contract may be either terminated or extended. The International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology is directly subordinate to the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who supervises the organization and activities of the Institute. The President of PAN nominates members of IAB and the Institute’s Directors.