On Think Tanks Fellowship Programme

Every year On Think Tanks opens its doors to young and promising think tank leaders to co-develop a new global leadership paradigm.

Why Integral Leaders for Global Challenges?

No one can deny the increasing complexity, urgency and interdependency of the challenges involved in research and public policy. Our governments are facing problems cannot be addressed without solid and fruitful alliances with non-State players. This reality gives think tanks a unique opportunity to broker new relationships and strengthen old ones.

This requires the emergence of a new generation of leaders who are eager to bring on an integral approach to their mission:

Uniting both heart and mind, feminine and masculine qualities and acknowledging the interconnectedness of countries, people and the environment.

Younger generations offer a promising shift in this direction: they bring fresh and imaginative perspectives to age-old problems. We want to embrace these new perspectives and trigger change together. We want to help Fellows become real agents of change to transform their organisations and make them healthier, aligned with global possibilities and challenges, and with a larger and deeper contribution to their people and communities.

At the end of the year-long Programme, Fellows will possess the skills and knowledge necessary to embark on a path towards a new kind of leadership. They will have the confidence to set-up new think tanks or transform existing ones. Fellows will also contribute to the formation of future generations of leaders.

What does it involve?

We recognise that the traditional ways in which organisations have been set-up and are managed are challenged by new generations. There is a demand for greater flexibility, innovation, transparency, and care for their staff. How can we work collectively to create new ways of leading think tanks to respond to these challenges?

The On Think Tanks Fellowship Programme has adopted a collaborative approach. Throughout a year-long programme, Fellows will:

1. Develop and implement a learning and personal development plan

These plans will focus on three main fields, inspired by Acumen’s + approach to leadership: moral imagination, operational expertise and financial experience. Each Fellow will share their plan with the group, enabling a joint path of discovery and support towards change. Plans will be reviewed and supported by mentoring from OTT School experts.

2. Participate in capacity building activities

Fellows will be able to join the courses offered by the OTT School that are relevant to their own plans: this will give Fellows the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and the experiences of others.

3. Collectively develop of a new leadership paradigm

Guided by mentors and through a provoking set of virtual discussions related to their personal paths as well as relevant readings, the cohort of Fellows will co-produce actionable methods and ideas to inform the development of a new leadership paradigm for think tanks. To this end, we will apply the human centred design methodology to enable a collective creation and ensure that outputs are relevant and useful.

What will be expected from the Fellows?

Fellows actively engage in the process and share their progress and reflections with their peers and with the wider thinktanking community through On Think Tanks. They also receive direct support from OTT’s editor to publish articles on the platform.

At OTT we believe that sharing our experiences and knowledge is the best contribution that we can make to support a global community of think tanks and policy entrepreneurs.

Fellows also keep up-to-date learning journals (based on their learning plans) and join monthly online group discussions with their mentors.

At the end of the Fellowship Programme, they will co-produce new methods and tools and work together to improve how future fellows and thinktankers are supported.

What happens next?

The Fellows who complete the programme will join On Think Tanks growing community of associates, collaborators, and partners. They will draw from their peers’ advice and support for years to come.

How to apply?

Please note that applications for the 2018 Fellowship Programme are not open yet.

More questions?

Please contact us on [email protected]


This initiative is kindly supported by the Hewlett Foundation.