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.