What do we do?

IARS stands for Independent Academic Research Studies – but what does this mean in practice?

Who we are

The IARS International Institute is a UK-based charity that puts our users at the heart of our work. We are proudly internationalist, and facilitate collaboration and debate through both local and international networks of NGOs and our global internship programmes.

Our Mission

Our mission is to give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society. 

How do we achieve this?

We respond to pressing social needs through engaging with those who are most affected. Our grassroots and peer-reviewed methods allow us to identify and respond to real needs, provide appropriate training, inform policies with authority,  and generate evidence-based solutions to problems in our community. 


  • We develop evidence-based research to tackle social problems, ensuring that those who are most affected are at the heart of our research
  • We collaborate with partners across the UK, Europe and beyond to create research and resources with both local and international application 
  • We provide evidence-based policy recommendations to local, national and international policy-making bodies


  • We deliver accredited training, handbooks and resources to professionals, teachers, youth workers and carers based on the results of our research 
  • We deliver life skills training for young people
  • We deliver seminars and cross-sector networking opportunities for professionals 
  • We host international conferences with industry experts, practitioners and policy-makers
  • We publish subject matter books and journals on a range of topics

Empowering Young People

  • We provide young people with opportunities to grow and develop their skills through accredited training, certified internships, volunteering, work experience, mentoring and leadership opportunities
  • We promote youth voices through our 99% campaign and magazine
  • We support young people to shape decision-making and social change from the bottom-up through our Advisory Boards and participation in policy consultations and external campaigns 
  • We give access and provide  training on a wide selection of productivity tools and online platforms to help young people develop digital skills to help them succeed in the XXI century digital economy.  

Community and Organisational Development

  • We provide expertise and support to individuals, communities and grass roots organisations to carry out their own initiatives to shape decision-making and society
  • We provide evaluation services to help organisations maximise their social impact 
  • We encourage participation of our project beneficiaries in decision making that affects them, to inform our work and shape our future direction through our Youth Advisory Board, Women’s Advisory Board and LGBTQ+ Advisory Board

What areas do we specialise in?

Originally set up as a youth-led NGO, IARS has now expanded its remit to cover various areas of expertise: Youth, Inequalities, Gender Discrimination and Violence, Social Entrepreneurship and Migrants.

However, we are led by our members and beneficiaries, without which we would not exist, and so our areas of work are determined by them. We regularly survey our beneficiaries who guide our priorities and areas of focus according to the most pressing needs.


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We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  


Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: director@iars.org.uk +44(0) 7833 224442  



Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.