This second post based on a series of think pieces written on supporting think tanks focuses on practical advice for the Knowledge Sector Initiative and similar efforts. It suggests that greater attention must be place on the environment of think tanks and other policy research actors. Of particular importance is to understand the real relationship between donors, grantees, and any contractors charged with delivering the initiatives' missions.
Posts from the ‘Research’ Category
Contracts stand between think tanks and the funds they need. But these contracts are hardly ever developed for think tanks -or with think tanks in mind. They pose enormous challenges for them, often compromising their own core asset: their intellectual capital. This post considers three typical contracts and puts forward some recommendations to improve the terms of the contracts that think tanks in developing countries receive.
Non-partisan think tanks are praised by their neutrality. But, as Claudio Jones argues, partisan think tanks play an important and necessary function in any democracy -certainly in emerging ones. In this post he outlines some characteristics of partisan think tanks, the challenges they face, and the functions they can fulfil.
In his second post, Philippe Martin outlines some of the key findings of his study of the effect that certain contextual factors have on think tanks' performance. He concludes with a number of interesting research questions to inform any efforts for further analysis.
Philippe Martin has used the Think Tank Initiative's database to test a number of hypothesis about the effect that certain contextual factors have on think tanks' performance. In this first post of two, he outlines some of the hypothesis studied.
David Walker presents and discusses a Knowledge Society Index developed to attempt to explain the effect of the context on think tanks formation and success. Developing such an index presents an attractive opportunity to quantify the fussy relationship between context and think tanks but leads to critical challenges that David addresses. What do you think of the index? Are the costs and challenges too large to merit the effort?
Thomas Medvetz 2013 book, Think Tanks in America, describes think tanks as political operators and provides a great account of how they go about claiming and gaining political power for themselves and their sector. The book provides a critical history of think tanks in the US that shines a new light on them; from technocratic and neutral knights to ideological and partisan knaves (not all of course). Read the book.