The focus of research at the WTI was until 2017 the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Trade Regulation. Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the NCCR aimed to clarify how the world trading system functions, to explore the drivers of fragmentation and coherence and to offer policy recommendations based on the disciplines of law, economics and political science.

With the end of the NCCR, the WTI is exploring new directions in research. Ongoing projects include the European Commission’s PRONTO project on regulatory barriers to trade; Common Concern, which explores the legal potential of the emerging doctrine of Common Concern of Humankind; and BRICS globalisation and legal protections.