In December 2013, Rémy Delage (geographer, CNRS), Christophe Jalil Nordman (economist, IRD) and Thanuja Mummidi (anthropologist, Pondicherry University) formulated the idea of designing a multi-year program of such training workshops in the field of social sciences. Inspired by similar experiences of summer schools worldwide, the simple idea was to combine theory and research practice by conducting parallel methodological workshops, all included in a single practical set-up. Instead of proposing already existing teachings of classical research methods, they opted to emphasize innovative research and surveying techniques which are not often taught in such way.
The first and experimental edition of the Social Sciences Winter School was held in December 2014 at the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (School of Social Sciences and International Studies, Pondicherry University). Preparing such an ambitious project required the creation of an international and collaborative team of research institutes and resource persons from India, with Pondicherry University (PU) and the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), from France with the Centre for South Asian Studies (CEIAS) and the French Institute for Development Research (IRD). Thanks to the recurrent logistic, institutional and financial supports these academic institutions could offer throughout the years, the collaborative work has made possible the success and establishment of this now major event in the academic landscape of social sciences in India. For the 2019 edition, the institutional and collaborative frame was slightly remodeled while involving a new partner that is the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) based in Chennai.
From 2022, and two years of health crisis that prevented the event from being held, the main organisers decided to extend this training scheme to other South Asian countries, such as Pakistan and Nepal.