The establishment of Institut Penyelidikan Pendidikan Tinggi Negara (IPPTN) or the National Higher Education Research Institute was proposed by Majlis Pendidikan Tinggi Negara (MPTN), which was established under the National Council on Higher Education Act 1996 (Act 546) to undertake the functions of planning, formulating, and determining national policies and strategies, as well as coordinating, promoting, and facilitating the development of higher education in Malaysia. Recognising the importance of research to support these functions, MPTN proposed that IPPTN to be officially launched under the auspices of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) with the mandate to strengthen and widen research efforts on higher education policies. Since its official launch on 21 August 1997, IPPTN has been led by a Director appointed from among USM academics, with Associate Research Fellows appointed from various universities in Malaysia.
On 6 June 2016, IPPTN became a Centre of Excellence of USM, and since then, has strengthened its efforts to champion research in higher education. Its vision is to be a referred research institute that leads policy research in higher education at national and international levels.
IPPTN’s mission is to carry out high-quality and forward-looking policy research in higher education for the development and advancement of national higher education towards excellence in the global context based on the motto "Leader in Higher Education Policy Research"Peneraju Penyelidikan Dasar Dalam Pendidikan Tinggi"
Over the years, IPPTN has developed an expertise in higher education policy research. It has conducted numerous research, consultancy and collaborative projects, which were supported and funded by various agencies including the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT), Universiti Sains Malaysia, UNESCO, International Institute for Educational Planning, Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility, Head Foundation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Sumitomo Foundation.
IPPTN has also actively participated in national, regional and international collaborative projects and events with Higher Education Research Association (HERA), Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP), Asia Pacific Education Research Institutes Networks (ERI-Net), Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies, International Association of Universities, Association of African Universities, Association of Commonwealth Universities, LH Martin Institute, and the Pertubuhan Pembangunan Penyelidikan dan Dasar Pendidikan Tinggi Malaysia (PenDaPaT).
IPPTN has been the Secretariat to Global Higher Education Forum since 2007, It is also the secretariat for the Malaysia-CLMV International Development Cooperation in Higher Education Programme and Jangkauan Global Malaysia. Since 2016, IPPTN has also been a host for the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility, which was established in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
To be a referred research institute which leads policy research in higher education at national and international levels.
To undertake quality and forward-looking policy research in higher education for the development and advancement of national higher education towards excellence in the global context.