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A major step in initiation of sustained research on spices was the launching of All India Coordinated Spices and Cashew Improvement Project (AICSCIP) at Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) at Kasaragod, Kerala during 1971 by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Later the ICAR felt the need for intensifying research on spices and established a Regional Station of CPCRI at Kozhikode, Kerala during 1975, exclusively for conducting research on spices by the ICAR.

The Regional Station was upgraded as National Research Centre for Spices (NRCS) in 1986 by merging with the Cardamom Research Centre of CPCRI at Appangala, Karnataka as its regional station. The NRCS was further elevated to the present Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) during 1995.