Scientists at IGB cover a wide range of disciplines, from hydraulics to socioeconomics, from molecular biology to catchment modelling, and from microbial ecology to fish behaviour. As of 31 December 2010, 203 people were employed at IGB, including 81 scientists, 42 PhD students, 77 non-academic staff members and 3 apprentices.
IGB was founded in 1992 on the recommendation of the German Science Council ("Wissenschaftsrat"), subsequent to a thorough assessment of the former East German research institutes including the institutes of the Academy of Sciences.IGB is a legal member of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V (FVB). The FVB comprises eight research institutes that are active in the fields of natural, life, and environmental sciences. The institutes share an administrative infrastructure and belong to the Leibniz Association ("Leibniz-Gemeinschaft", WGL). As a member of the Leibniz Association, IGB carries out cutting-edge research for the benefit and good of humankind (“theoria cum praxi”).