The Liechtenstein Institute was founded in 1986 on the initiative of the Liechtenstein Academic Society (Liechtensteinische Akademische Gesellschaft), in particular Dr Gerard Batliner (1928-2008). It is thanks to his determination and assertiveness that the Liechtenstein Institute was founded, initially solely on the basis of private financing and in the legal form of an association that still exists today. In his speech at the opening of the first premises of the Liechtenstein Institute on 22 August 1987, he outlined the idea of the Institute:

"Research and teaching at the Institute is thematically Liechtenstein-related. What does this mean? It is about researching the foundations of this state in a broad sense. Reality will show how interwoven our country is with the history, the present, and the future of the larger space. On the other hand, Liechtenstein research cannot be mastered without a focus on the individual and the distinctive, without a commitment to the concrete conditions. Anyone who believes they can grasp the micro-structure of Liechtenstein at a glance is missing the reality of our community. We also hope that the Institute will make a modest contribution to scientific research in general, by focusing on and researching the more comprehensive fundamental questions in the Liechtenstein case".

Gerard Batliner's wish at the time that the Institute should also provide an incentive for Liechtenstein academics to devote themselves to scientific work and qualify themselves has been fulfilled. In contrast to the time when the Liechtenstein Institute was founded, the majority of researchers currently come from Liechtenstein. Research activities have been greatly expanded over time. An increasing number of publications and events underscores the great importance of the Liechtenstein Institute.