The Institute is a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 293851) and Scotland (no. SC040092).

Royal Charter & Bylaws

The Institute of Physics was established in its current form by Royal Charter dated 17 September 1970.

The Royal Charter sets out the Institute’s charitable object and the framework within which it conducts its affairs. The object of the Institute as stated in the Royal Charter is:

  • to promote the advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of and education in the science of physics, pure and applied, for the benefit of the public and the members of the Institute.

The Royal Charter is supplemented by Bylaws and Regulations.

Charitable status & public benefit

The Institute is a charity registered in both England & Wales (no. 293851) and Scotland (no. SC040092). As such, the Institute is regulated by both the Charities Commission and the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

To be a charity an organisation must have purposes all of which are exclusively charitable (as defined by the Charities Act 2011) and are for the public benefit. The Institute meets the public benefit test in the following ways:

  • advancement of education
  • advancement of science
  • advancement of community development

As a registered charity the Institute is required to produce an annual report and accounts.

The annual report explains the aims and objectives set by the Institute, and the strategies and activities undertaken to achieve them. The accounts or financial statements provide information about the Institute’s financial position, performance and changes in financial position over the year.


The Institute is governed by Council which consists of 18 members elected from, and by, the corporate membership, and up to 3 co-opted members who are appointed by Council itself.

Council members serve four year terms, with the exception of co-opted members who are elected annually for a maximum of three years. The Honorary Treasurer and the Honorary Secretary are eligible for election to a second four-year term.

The Royal Charter sets out the requirement for a Council in which ‘the government and control of the Institute and its affairs shall be vested.’ The Institute’s Council is its board of trustees and therefore Council members are the trustees of the charity. Charity trustees are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of a charity.

As such, Council has the ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of the Institute, ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up. Council sets and monitors the Institute’s strategy which delivers these charitable outcomes.

Council members give their time voluntarily and are not remunerated for their work on behalf of the Institute. Council currently meets four times a year, normally in January, April, July and November.


Council has a number of standing committees with delegated powers, thus ensuring that the required time and attention is applied to overseeing specific areas of interest. The terms of reference, delegated powers and membership of these committees are set by Council. Committee membership is not limited to Council members, thus allowing for both wider representation from the membership and receipt of specialist external advice where appropriate. These committees are required to report back to Council.

Standing committees are also empowered to set up sub-committees or their own mechanisms for wider consultation. The terms of reference, delegated powers and membership of sub-committees are normally set by the parent committee.

Subsidiary Companies

The Institute has eight subsidiary companies which carry out trading on its behalf.

  • IOP Publishing Ltd
  • IOP Publishing Inc.
  • IOP Enterprises Ltd
  • IOP Business Publishing Inc.
  • IOP Educational Publishing Ltd (dormant)
  • IOP Publishing Consultants (Beijing) Co. Ltd
  • IOP Marketing and Promotion Services Private Ltd
  • Tur-pion Ltd

Together, the Institute and its subsidiary companies are referred to as the 'group'.

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