On Think Tanks was founded in June 2010 by Enrique Mendizabal.
This blog is about and for think tanks (or policy research institutes).
We think that these organisations can serve several important public good purposes – even if they are sometimes dismissed as ideological or interest driven. They play key roles in any modern society that values the contribution that knowledge can make to the world of politics and the lives of its members.
We hope that the posts and the resources published here will support think tanks to be more strategic in the way they make short and long-term decisions. The blog focuses on key internal and external issues of relevance and interest to think tanks as well as their staff and supporters.
Along the way, we work with others to develop and support initiatives to help think tanks and their supporters. You can read more about these initiatives here: On Think Tanks Lab.
We run the blog as a non-for profit initiative with the assistance of several contributors who, from time to time, will post on On Think Tanks.
Starting in 2015, On Think Tanks is being supported by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, provided to Enrique Mendizabal via Universidad del Pacífico in Perú. The grant is intended to support Enrique’s work on On Think Tanks over the next two years and it will make it possible to pay greater attention to achieving a more balanced regional coverage, focus on a few topics in greater detail, and encourage the participation of new contributors. The Hewlett grant will pay for changes to the website, a full time assistant, research travel, and the development of in-depth edited series.
Other funders contribute, indirectly to On Think Tanks through their support of specific projects or initiatives. The Think Tank Initiative, the Think Tank Fund, and the Knowledge Sector Initiative, for instance, support the On Think Tanks Exchange which is the source of important insights into the opportunities and challenges that think tanks face in their collaboration efforts. Similarly, the Think Tank Fund supports the On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition, which is the source of useful resources on data visualisations that have been shared through On Think Tanks.
In other cases, we are able to support our work through collaborations. The Premio PODER al think tank del año in Perú is another example of collaboration. This award provides great insights into the nature of think tanks and the think tank community in a single country; thus offering a perfect space and opportunity for learning. A plan for a School of Thinktankes for Latin America is a recent example of a collaboration with Canning House in the UK.
Sometimes, we just join others’ initiative and try to support them as best as we can. Transparify is a great example of this.
The blog and its family of initiatives is guided by these ‘principles‘:
- Be more inclusive and global
- Take the initiative
- Continue to rock the boat
- Be an honest source of ideas and advice
If you’d like to find out how to help, and help is needed, please contact us.
Please have a look at out content ‘policy':
Enrique Mendizabal, Founder and Director
Enrique Mendizabal is an independent researcher, adviser and blogger. Until December 2010 he worked for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) -an international development think tank based in the UK- where he headed the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme. Besides On Think Tanks, he support and advice to think tanks and their funders and collaborate with several think tanks whenever possible -always trying to encourage them to join in the discussion on the nature of think tanks.
Enrique currently live in Lima (Peru) but spends quite some time in London and traveling to visit think tanks across the world.
He also runs a number of initiatives. You can read more about them here: On Think Tanks Lab.
More information about Enrique can be found here or email him on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eva Cardoso is an experienced project manager. She has solid experience managing various international research projects; taking care of contractual management, budget monitoring, setting up/improving structures and processes, and arranging the content and logistics of international events and trainings. She is also very familiar with the think tanks sector: she was programme administrator for the RAPID Programme at ODI and has, since leaving, supported On Think Tanks on several projects including the Data Visualisation Competition, the Politics & Ideas think net and The Exchange. She also contributes writing on project management and budgeting.
Jeff recently joined the Nuffield Trust where he manages the digital communication activities of the Trust. Before then he worked at IDS as the Policy Influence and Research Uptake Manager for the Future Health Systems Research Programme Consortium. Previously he worked in the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) Programme at ODI where he was in charge of programme communication activities. He also has led or contributed to the communications activities of several large projects, like the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the Mwananchi Programme, Comercio y Pobreza en Latinoamerica (COPLA – Trade and Poverty in Latin America), and the Evidence-based Policy in Development Network. Drawing from this diverse experience, he has also participated in RAPID’s research and capacity development activities, focussing on policy influence and research communication. He has a master’s degree from the LSE in cultural sociology and a BA in sociology from Whitman College.@knezovjb
Leandro is an independent consultant working on research and policy, focusing on think tanks and civil society organisations and on developing their capacities to influence policy (influence planning, research communications, M&E of policy influence, fund raising and governance, among other issues). He is a member of Politics & Ideas, a think net focused on creating collective knowledge about the links between research and policy. He works as a consultant for the Center of Analysis and Dissemination of the Paraguayan Economy (CADEP), organization that he represents as part of he On Think Tanks Exchange. He has worked for more than five years at the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), being the Coordinator of the Influence, Monitoring and Evaluation Program. Among other initiatives he coordinated the program “Spaces for engagement: using knowledge to improve public decisions”, a six-year program by CIPPEC and GDNet aimed at developing Latin American, African and Asian think tanks and researchers capacities for policy influence. He also coordinated Bridging research and policy in Latin America (www.vippal.org), a virtual platform addressing BRP issues. Leandro has an MA in Public Policies and Development Management (Georgetown University and Universidad de San Martín, thesis pending), Diploma on Evaluation of Public Policies, and BA in Political Science and Professorship of Political Science (Universidad de Buenos Aires).
Daniel is a sociologist experienced in different types of social research. He currently works as a Research and Communications Officer for On Think Tanks, giving support in various projects related to the platform. Before, he worked with Mr. Mendizabal in the project Lessons COP20 -an investigation on the organisation of the climate change conference- and also helped organise a Policy Fight Club public debate in Lima. Until september 2014 he worked for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) doing M&E for government social programs. Previously he worked for Ipsos Perú, in their Public Affairs unit, managing several investigation projects for clients from the private and public sector. He has a BA in Sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
A full list of regular contributors can be found here.