Foreign funding for think tanks has raised a few eyebrows lately. There is an increasing concern that this involves meddling with domestic politics. In developing countries this comes alongside an already very drying up of foreign funds for research. Domestic funders, especially corporations, foundations and individual philanthropists will have to step in to pick up the bill. Think tanks, however, will have to rethink how they raise funds and work if they want to tap into this opportunity.
Posts from the ‘Opinion’ Category
Organisational change is becoming as core an activity as research for many think tanks. Funding is increasingly conditioned to changes or reforms within the organisation. Not all think tanks have the capacity to manage this change, however. They can learn from each other, they can contract experts and consultants to support them, and they may even rely on their own skills. But many more could do with more support on this front. Think tank funders interested in organisational development should invest in their own organisational change capacity to service the think tanks they support.
The exact definition of think tanks eludes us. With more and more organisations using the label to describe themselves, how can we decide what is and what isn't one. The Premio PODER to the best Peruvian think tanks provides an opportunity to set out the boundaries of a fluid and porous definition. One that is likely to change over time as more (or fewer) organisations assume the functions we associate with think tanks.
Do we really want to know who funds or funded think tanks and researchers? Do we want to know all about how they get their funding, who they've worked with, or for in the past? In this post, I play devil's advocate and present some arguments against complete transparency. Would it make it impossible for the system to function?
The move towards long term institutional support for think tanks has led to great improvements in their capacity. There are already a number of stories of success coming from initiatives like the TTI and KSI. But what will happen when they come to an end? Will they? How could these initiatives look like in the future and how could thinking about these scenarios today help them to achieve their objectives?