Intermediate institutions are research institutes that deal with Work and Labour issues, in particular with the relationships between new forms of work organisation, productivity, innovation, participation and employment. These institutions promote research aimed at fostering the organisational evolution of companies and public bodies, as well as adding value to work through it. The main task of these institutes is the search for a new organisational form of work and a new equilibrium in innovative strategies. In this context the regional and local dimension is particularly important.

More than sixty researchers, policy-makers and representatives of the social partners from all over the world took part at this Conference, which was sponsored by the European Commission, the International Labour Organisation, The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Hans Böckler Foundation et al. The Conference created a discussion forum on issues such as: employment and development, the position of the social actors, the role of conflict, the importance of social progress and participation and the meaning of 'public good'. It evidenced that today Intermediate Institutions play an important role as actors in the dynamic world of work and labour where the main actors, i.e. trade unions, employers and policymakers, need to be assisted and encouraged to co-operate, at international level as well. In this context, one of the purposes of the network is to promote a long-term vision, where work and labour relations are not merely considered as costs and constraints, but rather as opportunities for fostering economic growth and welfare. In response to the need to foster a co-operative framework between these institutions, the International Network for Regional and Local Development of Work and Labour has been set up. The institutes and organisations taking part in the network deal with research, the improvement of labour conditions, the organisation of work as well as economic questions. In June 2003 a European chapter has been created during its first conference in Bologna. A second conference followed in April 2004 in Rome.