These observatories aim at informing debates on key aspects of the Portuguese society and institutions as a way of bridging the gap between science, society and policymaking. By promoting partnerships with local, governmental and private non-profit institutions, ICS observatories produce policy-oriented technical and scientific knowledge for the central and local public administration, as well as to researchers in other scientific areas. As such, the observatories are deeply engaged in contributing to social innovation and improved governance in the public and private sectors.

The number and frequency of reports and briefings for non-specialist audiences and the media, of seminars involving stakeholders, or of actions to promote scientific culture among young students, express ICS long-term commitment of addressing social issues by social-scientific means.