Often they are research organisations (research institutions) created to do research on specific topics. An institute can also be a professional body.
In some countries institutes can be part of a university or other institutions of higher education, either as a group of departments or an autonomous educational institution without a traditional university status such as a „university Institute“. (See Institute of Technology)
The word „institute“ comes from the Latin word institutum meaning „facility“ or „habit“; from instituere meaning „build“, „create“, „raise“ or „educate“.
In some countries, such as South Korea and Japan, private schools are sometimes called institutes, rather than schools. In Spain secondary schools are called institutes.