The Research Unit is an integral component within the Institute of the Public Services (IPS) which is targeted to bolster investment in research and development on a national level whilst also further a culture across the Public Service to favour quality, evidence-based and applied research as part of the policy process, strategic decision-making and in its operations.

The development of the Research Unit within the IPS was brought about by three main requirements:

The first is to provide an academic support framework for students carrying out research in matters and areas of interest and within the Public Service.
The second is to support the internal operations and activities of the Institute by providing evidence-based research targeted at addressing the development of IPS as a centre of excellence in the training and development of Public Officers.
Finally, is mainly to address the needs, identify trends and examine opportunities and threats that may affect the Malta Public Service in the future. This is to be done in a proactive manner with Ministries, Departments, Entities and Education Institutions.

Research at IPS is viewed from a holistic approach and covers a wide spectrum of administrative, operational and policy areas which may affect both across the entire Malta Public Service but also those topics which may be more specific to individual grades or Ministries. The ultimate aim is to contribute to the further improvement of the Malta Public Service and its ambition to aspire to excellence.

IPS aims at broadening its research resources by not only utilising its own sponsored students and other students showing interest to conduct research about areas in which the Malta Public Service has great interest in, but also in the development of in-house dedicated researchers and through the motivation of its tutors and trainers to contribute to IPS research projects and publications. 

To enhance further the visibility of research, the IPS launched an official IPS Library​ in 2020 in order to promote further the importance of research which is accessible to public officers to conduct further studies. The library is equipped with the latest articles, journals and other scholarly works.  Complementing the library, public officers may also book in advance a study space in the library where they can carry out their research and studies.

In 2021, the Research Unit has launched the first of a series of planned publications​: the IPS Journal.  The IPS Journal is a bi-annual research anthology which brings together research contributions from academics and students sponsored under various schemes and programmes.