STI organizes and sponsors experts meetings of some dozen scholars from a variety of disciplines to study and debate specific issues of current social significance. The conferences are held over a two-and-a-half day period at any one of a number of prestigious universities around the world. They are developed under the oversight of an Academic Leader - a professor expert in the field under consideration. The Academic Leader defines the topic to be studied, poses the principal inquiries, identifies and invites the best thinkers on the issue - representing different disciplines and nationalities, directs contributions, leads discussion and oversees the resulting publication.
STI asks a majority of conference participants to submit and present an original paper, in English, on the subject at hand. After the meeting, these papers may be revised in light of the conference discussion. They then become the basis of a published volume.
Experts on the topic who do not submit a paper are often invited as Discussants to contribute to the debate.
Each meeting is organized under one of STI's five branches of priority research: Family, Bioethics, Culture & Lifestyles, Governance, and Civil Society.
Additionally, STI sometimes sponsors or co-sponsors similar meetings that fall outside of the purview of the five branches. Such meetings may be organized by other institutions with STI support.