The VIS was set up to assist the development of Victoria's best athletes. It was established in 1990 by the State Government as a private trustee company, with its Board of Directors appointed by the Victorian Minister for Sport. The VIS is located at Olympic Park, Melbourne in the renovated site of the 1956 Olympic swimming pool. Facilities include office space, sport science and medicine facilities and meeting rooms, as well as a large gymnasium, a four lane 25m swimming pool, a running track and a theatrette. The VIS is a non-residential institute, which utilises Melbourne's outstanding sporting facilities, to allow high performance athletes to live and train in Melbourne, the sporting capital of Australia. VIS programs are conducted in partnership with State Sporting Organisations.
The VIS has a close association with the Sports Specialism at Maribyrnong College and was one of the original stakeholders engaged by the State Government and Department of Education to assist the development of the project. The partnership has and continues to involve: