ICMS is jointly owned by Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, with funding received from EPSRC and the London Mathematical Society. The centre supports research in the mathematical sciences. Its core activity is the development and organisation of international workshops and conferences in all areas of mathematics and these attract leading mathematical scientists from the UK and overseas.

In addition to workshops, ICMS is involved in a number of other mathematical activities such as small group research programmes, postgraduate training, journal management and outreach. Details of current and past projects are available on their website. ICMS also hosts events organised by other mathematical and related organisations. Their full calendar lists all workshops, other activities and hosted events.