Founded in 1972, the Institute is supported by the voluntary donation of a percentage of royalites earned by the commercial applications and patents derived from research conducted within its walls. Researchers and staff live and work in a Spartan yet familial atmosphere. Applications for membership are reviewed by a twenty-member board which includes Buckaroo Banzai himself; the candidates themselves and not their projects are examined, to see if they are of the right caliber for the Institute. The successful applicant is given a key, a minimal monthly stipend, and a small room without electricity or running water where he or she sleeps on a straw mat on a wooden bunk.