Coffee is as a unique agricultural commodity has economic, ecological, political, sociological, cultural and anthropological importance to Ethiopia and beyond. Understanding of the roles of this nationally and internationally important commodity needs multifaceted applied and basic researches. Ethiopia is the cradle of Coffea arabica, and the wild coffee plants are growing naturally in the undergrowth of the Afromontane rainforests at altitudes between 1000 and 2000m. As the center of origin, much genetic variability and diversity is expected from Ethiopia. The wild coffee gene pool are of national and international importance, because they have high potential for the global breeding of new coffee varieties, which are good yielder, disease resistant and best quality and low caffeine contents. 

Compared to other regions of the world like Latin America and Asia to which coffee was introduced, research on coffee in Ethiopia is at infant stage and limited to certain aspects of coffee science which are very fragmented across different institutions in the country. However, as a country of coffee origin, Ethiopia was expected to lead in coffee research and coffee science and technology generation and get economic reward from it. In the contrary, coffee industry in the country is challenged by constraints related to poor agronomic practices; weak technology generation, delivery and adoption; limited market integration; diseases and insect pests pressure; price volatility; climate change, weak institutional linkage and so on. Moreover, the internationally important wild coffee populations of Ethiopia are severely threatened at an alarming rate due to excessive deforestation, habitat disturbance and land use change. This can be expected to have resulted in a rapid decline of the genetic diversity of wild coffee populations. Therefore, research is expected to generate package of findings to these challenges confronting global coffee industry in general and Ethiopian coffee sector in particular. To this effect, International Institute of Coffee Research at Jimma University (JU) was established in June 2015 to undertake both basic and applied research in national and international contexts to address the challenges facing national and global coffee industry in transdisciplinary approach to come up with the best understanding and solutions.