The functions of IRDP as stipulated in the establishment Act No 8 of 1980 are:
a) To promote social and economic development by providing opportunities for the study of and training in the principles, techniques and their practical applications in all aspects of rural development planning.
b) To provide facilities places and centres of learning, education, training and research in rural development planning and such other related subjects and disciplines as the council may from time to time decide.
c) To conduct training programmes in all disciplines related to rural development planning including the preparation, application and evaluation of development programmes.
d) To undertake, either alone or in association with any other person or body of persons within or outside the United Republic of Tanzania, research in methodology and techniques of improving regional and rural development planning.
e) To monitor and co-ordinate research and training programmes related to rural development.
f) To collect, publish or otherwise disseminate data and other information related to rural development including the publication of results of any research carried out by the Institute.
g) To sponsor, arrange or provide facilities for conferences, seminars or symposia on subjects related to rural development planning.
h) To provide advisory, consultancy and other services to the government, organizations, villages and individuals in matters related to rural development planning.
i) To prepare students for examinations as may be conducted by the Institute and to grant such awards as may be prescribed under or in accordance with the Act.
j) To establish and maintain a system of consultation and co- operation with any person or body of persons within or outside the United Republic of Tanzania engaged in activities related to the functions of the Institute.
k) To perform any other function conferred upon the Institute by or under the Act.