On Think Tanks

4 April 2024

On Think Tanks is a leading global source of information, support and community for people working in, with and funding think tanks. We create a space to connect, learn and exchange knowledge, ideas and resources.

On Think Tanks is a public good. It sits under our evidence generation and communication workstrand, and we always seek to share what we learn from OTT’s consulting projects back through the On Think Tanks spaces, so that more people can benefit from it.

Our efforts are currently possible thanks to partnerships with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Mercator Stiftung, and the Robert Bosch Foundation. Get in touch to support the work of On Think Tanks. If you would like to support On Think Tanks, get in touch.

Our activities

Global Conference

The OTT Conference brings together thinktankers, funders and policy experts from around the world to connect, exchange and learn. Learn more.

School for Thinktankers

The School is a one-week programme in Brussels. It is taught by current and former think tank directors and expert practitioners, and is designed to prepare participants for, or to strengthen, think tank leadership. The curriculum covers five core areas of thinktanking: governance & management, policy relevant research, communications, fundraising & financial management, and monitoring, evaluation & learning. We have an alumni community of over 200 thinktankers worldwide. Register your interest.

State of the sector report

The think tank state of the sector report provides an annual snapshot of the state of the think tank sector globally and regionally. The only global publication of its kind, the think tank state of the sector report draws on data from the Open Think Tank Directory and a sector survey. It offers insights into questions like: are political funding contexts for think tanks improving or worsening? What big challenges are they facing? What’s the average think tank size, age and turnover? Read the latest report.

Open Think Tank Directory

We set up the Directory in 2016 to promote sector transparency and respond to the lack of publicly available information on policy research centres. Today, it features over 4,000 organisations worldwide. The database is publicly available. Browse the Directory.

Funders Circle

We facilitate a closed group of think tank funders, creating a space for peer learning, support, and exchange. Current members include the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Societies Foundation, and the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. Ask to join.

Ideas, knowledge and resources

We publish regular articles and resources, sharing learning and experience from across our community. Browse the latest articles, podcasts and publications.

The Build a think tank guide is a companion for policy entrepreneurs to set up and grow nascent think tanks. It is framed around a series of questions that all think tank founders should ask themselves, each question illustrated with different examples. The guide is available in English, French and Arabic.


To learn more about On Think Tanks:

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