Until its transformation into an accredited tertiary institution offering both undergraduate and graduate level programs, ISDES was largely a research institute, beginning from 2008 to about mid 2014. During that time, ISDES offered short courses and conducted executive training in Disaster Resilient Leadership Training, Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
It also conducted training programs and research on minimization of Conflict and its Management, as well as the Management of National Security Assets, Anti-Terrorism, and Ethics across Sub-Sahara Africa. These programs were run in informal collaboration with the School of Public Health, University of Ghana between 2010 and 2011 and then from about August 2011, with the University of Health and Allied Sciences.
As far back as 2008 and under the leadership of Dr. Ishmael Norman, ISDES has played lead role in the development of curriculum and in the training of faculty for Disaster Resilience Leadership through workshops at the University of Development Studies, University of Health and Allied Sciences and several other national universities.