ISO has set an ambitious goal to see international standards used everywhere. To realize this goal, we must work to demonstrate the benefits that international standards bring. ISO’s research activities aim to understand and communicate how standards support economic growth, social progress and environmental sustainability.

Despite the widespread use of standards, they often remain hidden, working modestly behind the scenes to underpin the technology and services that we rely on. Sometimes the contribution made by standards can be hard to explain or quantify. ISO promotes and conducts research so we can better understand the impacts of standards and how to maximise their benefits.

From the results of this research, we produce materials to help communicate key findings to businesses, learning institutions and the wider public. Our goal is not only to foster a better understanding of the advantages that standards bring to both organizations and society, but also to build interest in taking part in international standardization.

To find out more, access our case studies that demonstrate the benefits of standards.

Access the ISO Research Library for research about standards

ISO has compiled research from academia, international organizations and ISO Members and more. The ISO Research Library contains a growing collection of publications about standards, standards development and the impacts of standardization. The Library is designed to support the work of ISO members, researchers and others with an interest in standards. You can browse the collection using the search fields, or, if you’re looking for something specific, try the keyword search. 
Find the ISO Research Library here:

Student browsing books in a library

The ISO Research Grant

The ISO Research Grant is awarded annually to one postgraduate student (Masters, PhD or post-doc) to conduct a research study related to a theme proposed by ISO. The grant amount is 25,000 CHF. A different theme is proposed each year, but the broad focus is on evaluating the impacts of international standards.

In establishing this grant, ISO aims to:

  • Promote research that will result in new knowledge about the impacts of International Standards;
  • Motivate students and raise the profile of standardization as an attractive research topic;
  • Foster links with higher education institutions and promote education about standardization.

More information on this year’s theme and how to submit a proposal.

Join the ISO Research and Innovation network. Share your ideas.

This network has been created by the ISO Research and Innovation (R&I) unit with the aim of creating a community to discuss, promote and conduct research and innovation activities related to standardization.

The R&I network will also help you keep up to date with the latest news in standardization research and the activities of ISO. More information is available in this brochure.
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International Standards and Trade - What does the research say?
The relationship between standards and trade is a topic of great interest in the standardization community. In this synthesis review, a selection of emblematic studies draws together findings on the impacts of standards on trade across multiple contexts.
Standards & economic growth: ISO members’ research on the impact of standards on their national economies
Many of us believe that standards have a positive impact on society, but with such a large range of standards types and topics, how can we measure this impact? ISO members around the globe have probed this question, asking ‘what is the impact of standards on our national economy’?


The ISO Methodology can be used to measure the economic benefits of standards.