Prospect Magazine’s Think Tank of the Year Awards 2012: the winners

11 July 2012

Another year another index… but this time is one that I like. Prospect Magazine announced the winners and runner-ups of its awards for 2012As in previous years, the judges offered a thoughtful discussion on the merits of each winner:

The Prospect Think Tank of the Year Awards, now in their 12th year, set out to give credit to organisations that have led the debate among the public and government. The judges look for originality and rigour of research and argument, for selection of topics of importance, and for influence.

Anyone following other rankings would find it interesting that Brookings did not top this one. The explanation illustrates the complexity involved in choosing a ‘winner’ and why anything but an open discussion on the nuances of the art and science of being a think tank is unacceptable:

North American Think Tank of the Year

In this category, the judges nominated three organisations. In third place was the Brookings Institution, commended for success in grappling with “the big picture” and for  work in combatting anti-Chinese sentiment in Congress. In second place was the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), a smaller organisation that analyses the military component of the federal budget. As the CSBA points out, significant cuts in healthcare and pensions have remained elusive, but when “something has to give,” the military budget, the world’s largest, has been a comparatively soft target, and the think tank has anticipated the detail of those reforms.

However, the winner of the North American Think Tank of the Year award was the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The judges agreed that its recent work on the Middle East had been outstanding and that it had succeeded in gathering together a strong roster of scholars. Judges gave particular note to its report “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” by Seyed Hossein Mousavian. Its output was credited with being free of ideological bias, which lent it intellectual consistency.

The full list of winners:

Global Think Tank of the Year
Winner: Bruegel

UK categories
Think Tank of the Year
Winner: Social Market Foundation

Publication of the Year
Resolution Foundation, “The Essential Guide to Squeezed Britain”

One to watch
Winner: Reform Scotland

International Affairs
Winner: Open Europe
Runner-up: Chatham House

Social policy
Winner: Resolution Foundation
Runner-up: Demos
Commended: IPPR

Energy and the Environment
Winner: Chatham House
Runner-up: ResPublica

Economic & Financial policy
Winner: Social Market Foundation
Runner-up: IPPR
Commended: Reform Scotland

North America
Think Tank of the Year
Winner: Carnegie Endowment
Runner-up: CSBA
Commended: Brookings Institution

Europe (excluding UK)
Think Tank of the Year
Winner: Bruegel (Brussels)
Runner-up: The Institute of Modern     Politics (Bulgaria)
Commended: TEPAV (Turkey)