Bruno Kessler, president of the Autonomous Province of Trento from 1960 to 1974, and Mgr Iginio Rogger, the director of ISR until 1997, founded the Istituto per le Scienze Religiose (ISR) on 29 dicembre 1975 as a non-sectarian and non-denominational institution devoted to research in the field of religion. ISR was created as a research center within the Istituto trentino di cultura.
In 1986 ISR and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Trento started together a course for preparing Catholic religion teachers in Italian public high schools.
In 1998 the Istituto was transformed in Centro per le Scienze Religiose.
In 2007 the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) replaced the Istituto Trentino di Cultura. FBK operates as private entity, but is mainly funded by the Provincia Autonoma di Trento.
Over the past 40 years the Center has been a platform for fresh, international and interdisciplinary investigation on religion. In the last decade, as FBK grew increasingly interested in combining natural and human sciences, ISR has taken a specific interest in bridging technological development and humanities.