EAIR has hosted a number of SIGs (Special Interest Groups) since 2004. They were originally established as a pre-forum activity to provide opportunities for delegates to think more freely about broader concerns in higher education than was possible in the forum tracks alone.

Initially, three SIGs were established, each one focusing on a key issue relating to institutional research.
The SIG: Quality in Higher Education was established to provide thinking time on matters relating to quality management in higher education.; the SIG: Exploiting Data Repositories allowed members time to explore the challenges of managing data; and the SIG: Student Experience encouraged colleagues to explore aspects of the whole student experience of higher education.

In more recent years, it was recognised that a new group was also needed, which focused specifically on institutional research and its role in modern universities. The underlying principle of the SIG, however, has developed and adapted to needs: new groups have emerged to address new concerns. The SIG is continually evolving but it has become a core element of the modern EAIR and an excellent opportunity for sharing ideas and experience as well as networking.