The fundamental objective of IDS is to promote and develop research-based decision-making process in government with regard to policy formulation and implementation. To achieve this objective, the Institute performs the following functions :
1. Conducts problem-solving research on administrative and socio-economic development, and submits policy proposals to the government for consideration;
2. Analyses and evaluates policy proposals submitted by the public and presents recommendations to the State Government for possible implementation;
3. Organises seminars, forums and discussions with the aim of tapping public opinions on problems and issues which can affect socio-economic development in Sabah; and
4. Maintains a high quality information system.