The establishment of the Centre was approved by the Council of Ministers, the highest executive body in the Royal Government of Bhutan. Subsequent to this approval, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley issued a government order No. Com/02/52 dated 11 November 1998, commanding the establishment of the Centre.
The Centre was officially inaugurated on March 25, 1999.
- Conduct evaluative studies on existing programmes of the government and providing feedback on the basis of which the Royal Government can improve programmes and policies.
- Support basic research by other agencies in Bhutan.
- Conduct inter-disciplinary studies of Bhutan in its social, cultural, and economics aspects, focussing largely, but not exclusively, on contemporary issues.
- Act as a clearing-house of information on various studies and researches being conducted in Bhutan and abroad by foreign institutes. Within Bhutan, the Centre will maintain a close research alliance with other people and institutes engaged in similar activities.
- Generate programme proposals or writings, as assigned by the Council for the Centre.
- Host special lectures and seminars on themes related to its charge by Bhutanese, and by foreign scholars who visit Bhutan for whatever reasons.
- Commission studies or research by Bhutanese scholars, related to its charge
- Publish occasional research papers.
- Publish the Journal of Bhutan Studies (annual publication)
- Encourage participation of younger scholars in research.
- Serve as a vehicle to train individuals in research skills to analyse, in particular, contemporary issues.
The Centre is an autonomous body governed by a set of Tsa-thrim (rules and regulations) approved by the Council of Ministers.