The Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) works in tandem with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The charter of both organisations is granted by the Internet Society. The IRTF and IEFT are comprised of working groups who suggest, research and engineer specifications for new Internet Standards.
The majority of the work conducted by the working groups of the
IRTF and IEFT is related to evolving Internet protocols, and primarily
the protocols found within the Internet protocol suite. Working
groups also conduct research, and engineer, improvements to Internet
architecture and Internet technology.
What differentiates the IRTF and IEFT: the working groups of the IRTT are primarily concerned with research: which, by it's nature, tends to involve long term projects which will evolve the Internet over a decade or longer. The working groups of the IEFT are primarily focused upon engineering issues: which, by it's nature, tends to involve short term projects that need to be completed within years. So to re-cap:
The IRTF is organised in a similar 'fashion' to the other Internet organisations: a 'chair' manages the research working groups, and the 'chair' will then liaise with the other Internet organisations to oversee overall Internet standards and policies. At present, 2014, the IRTF is comprised of seven research working groups:
The chronological order of the 'chairs' of the IRFT has been: