The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society was formed in 1986 on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR). The institute is named for Australia's longest serving judge, former High Court judge Michael Kirby AC.
The Kirby Institute is directly affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, and receives funding through the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The Kirby Institute's primary functions relate to the co-ordination of national surveillance programs, clinical research and clinical trials. The Institute's research program has increasingly taken on a regional focus, with major collaborative programs in Thailand and Cambodia. Other functions of the Kirby Institute include the training of health professionals, and input into the development and implementation of health policy and programs.