ISSOL was established in 1973 as an international not for profit corporation chartered under the laws of the District of Columbia and charged with serving as a professional science society supporting origin of life research and related fields.

The Society is dedicated to the furtherance of astrobiology and origin of life research through the individual efforts of its members and in cooperation with other national and international scientific organizations.

ISSOL receives support for student and young researcher travel to the triennial meeting from a number of organizations including the NASA Exobiology program, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and more recently the Earth-Life Science Institute, the Simons Foundation and various private donors. In 2005 the society recognized the needs for a broadening of the scope of ISSOL and officially designated the society as an astrobiology society. In 2007, Stanley Miller bequeathed the society funds that provided for the introduction of a fellowship program providing small research grants for new career astrobiologists.