McMaster has a long and distinguished track record in energy matters. MIES was founded in 1980 in the Faculty of Engineering as an interdisciplinary institute for the study of energy extraction, transformation, generation, transportation and end-use. In the following decades the Institute also developed a focus on policy and economics.

Internally, MIES provides a forum for cooperation and interdisciplinary interactions between McMaster faculty members in the energy area and acts as a point of contact at McMaster for energy-related opportunities and to communicate them to the McMaster community.  It encourages and fosters an interdisciplinary systems approach to the solution of energy problems in order to establish a credible capability for the assessment and evaluation of energy systems, thus providing authoritative advice to governments and industry.