The Institute

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The Institute
notable membersDr. Zimmer
Harkness (former)
headquartersThe Institute
notable locationsThe Institute (Commonwealth)
Relations and associations
child entitiesSynth Retention Bureau

The Commonwealth itself is nothing but a war-ravaged quagmire of violence and despair. Inside the sealed environment of the Institute, however... But... the Institute's affairs are none of your concern. Your undeveloped mind couldn’t even begin to comprehend what we’ve accomplished.

— Dr. Zimmer

The Institute is a mysterious organization in the Commonwealth. It is known to possess advanced technology, including the ability to produce androids of high enough quality to pass as humans.


The Institute is the descendant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), located within the Commonwealth, the name now given in the post-atomic world to what was once the American state of Massachusetts. Little is known about the Institute other than that the scientists working in the sealed environment of the Institute possess highly advanced technology and technological skills. The Institute has created true artificial intelligence (AI) and is capable of creating convincing androids.

In fact, it seems that aside from a handful of groups on the West Coast, it is the only known organization in the post-apocalyptic American wastelands that continues to pursue true scientific study and novel technological development other than the scientists at the Big Empty, like the Shi or the New California Republic, though it is probably most similar to the Boulder Dome.

Interactions with the player character

Main article: The Replicated Man

Another organization active in the Commonwealth, the Railroad, functions in direct opposition to the Institute, as their goal is to free the Institute's sentient androids from their creators.

Broken Steel

In Fallout 3's Broken Steel add-on it is mentioned that Dr. Madison Li supposedly went north to visit the Commonwealth, where the Institute is located, after the events of Take it Back!. Whether this was truly her intention and whether she actually made it there is currently unknown.


The Institute is mentioned in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, and in Mr. House's obituary, A tragedy has befallen all mankind. The Institute may appear in Fallout 4.