The National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS) is an academic institute attached to the Hainan Provincial Government, working under the policy guidance of the Foreign Ministry of the People's Republic of China (PRC), while receiving professional instruction from the State Oceanic Administration of the PRC.
The NISCSS’s predecessor, the Hainan Research Institute of South China Sea (HRISCS), was established in 1996 as a think-tank for SCS issues. In July 2004, the State Council upgraded the HRISCS to the national level and changed its name to the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. In 2011, the Institute moved from Haikou proper to a modern compound across the River of Nandu.
The Institute specializes in research on divisive issues in the South China Sea (SCS) and participates in related academic exchange. Since its founding, the Institute has completed and continues to pursue research projects on:
1．The history and geography of SCS, especially of the sovereignty of the SCS islands.
2．The geopolitics of the SCS, including neighbouring countries' policies on the SCS.
3．The applicability of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to the SCS.
4．The peaceful settlement of the Spratly Islands dispute.
5．The use and protection of the SCS environment
6．The Institute also trains professionals working in the fields of SCS diplomacy and marine biology.