The Institute of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences was established in 1956 as the Research Centre of Geological Sciences in Warsaw. The Laboratory of Geology and Stratigraphy of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, which was organized in 1954 on the basis of the geological collection and library of the geological division of the Physiographic Commission of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, was incorporated into the Research Centre as its branch in Cracow. Professors Jan Samsonowicz, Roman Kozłowski and Stefan Zbigniew Różycki initiated the establishment of the Research Centre of Geological Sciences in the Polish Academy of Sciences. Professor Jan Samsonowicz was the first director of the Research Centre. In 1979, a resolution of the Board of the Polish Academy of Sciences raised the Centre to the rank of Institute.
Since 1956 the members of the research staff of the Institute have published over 2500 papers, including many monographs and syntheses, issued in the foreign and Polish scientific journals. Some of research findings have practical applications, including characterization of hydrochemical parameters of the subsurface waters in the Polish lowlands, studies on geothermal water resources in the Sudetes, recognition of the origin of the copper ores in the light of sedimentological analysis, expert evaluations done for the Polish Jura Chain Landscape Parks, various research studies and consulting jobs for the oil industry, and also sedimentological and mineralogical analyses of the Carpathian Foredeep deposits.

The following research activities carried out over the past decades may be mentioned here, as a part of geological investigations conducted in the Institute:

  • elaboration of genetic classification of eclogites; 
  • studies on origin of the Variscan granitoids in the Sudetes in Poland; 
  • reconstruction of the geodynamic history of the Sudetic Variscides;
  • elaboration of new variants of dating of geological events by fission track methods;
  • isotopic geochronology of the West Carpathian crystalline rocks (international team);
  • elaboration of new techniques concerning the X-ray identification of the mixed layer illite-smectite minerals; 
  • elaboration of crystallochemical classification of layer silicates and of oblique texture X-ray technique for identification of their polytypes; 
  • elaboration of X-ray measurement techniques of crystallite thickness of clay minerals (international team); 
  • recognition of genesis of "hieroglyphs" (sole marks) in the turbiditic deposits of the Carpathian flysch in the light of laboratory experiments; 
  • elaboration of facies model of fluxoturbidities;
  • recognition of eolian genesis of some Late Cretaceous deposits in Mongolia and Early Triassic deposits in Poland; 
  • recognition of significance of hydrothermal karst in ore formation processes; 
  • recognition of geological structure of selected Arctic areas (lithostratigraphic standard for the Proterozoic, some Palaeozoic stages and Triassic, and the age definition of phases of Alpine deformation in Spitsbergen);
  • recognition of the geological structure of the West Antarctica (lithostratigraphic standard, the geological evolution of the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula and discovery of the Tertiary glaciations).