- Cities - considerations include urban planning, the idea of sustainable cities and transport.
- Energy - considerations include renewable energy, energy subsidies, carbon pricing, carbon capture and storage.
- Education - key to innovation.
- Productivity growth - note that this is an important aspect of economics for sustainability, as an educated, productive workforce is likely to be more focused on services as a proportion of the economy, and more efficient at resource use; however a greater economy is still generally a larger user of natural resources and emitter of greenhouse gases, unless it deliberately uses chooses to use its wealth differently.
- Australian Perspectives - focused on quality of life in Australia, which depends not only on economics but on non-economic factors.
These areas were chosen on the basis that evidence-based research was believed to have an important role in improving public debate on these matters. Grattan Institute also makes provision for experts in other fields to work under its umbrella.
It is a think tank and was established in 2008, as a result of a bipartisan effort by former and retiring politicians from the Australian Labor and Australian Liberal parties. It is funded by Australian federal and state governments and corporations.