December 13, 2017


School for Thinktankers

Good think tank leaders are scarce. They can’t just rely on being a great researcher, they also have to be an excellent manager, networker and communicator.

Unfortunately, many researchers don’t get to build these skills during their careers. By the time they are senior enough to take on leadership roles it’s (almost) too late.

The School for Thinktankers is an opportunity to learn about the many dimensions of think tanking, and to prepare for future leadership roles.

 The 2022 School for Thinktankers-online took place between January 24 and February  11 (2hours a day starting at 12 GMT). If you are interested in attending  the next edition please register your interest here.

Find out more: Read the 2021 School for Thinktankers (online) report  or watch the videos of the 2020 edition ( in-person).


The School for Thinktankers covers core think tank areas:

  • Think tanks and evidence informed policy
  • Governance and management
  • Policy relevant research agendas
  • Communication strategies
  • Fundraising and financial management
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning of policy influence
  • Cross cutting issues ( e.g. transparency, and diversity)

Taught by think tank directors and expert practitioners, the programme is a combination of  online lectures, pre recorded videos, background materials, networking sessions and groupwork  designed to:

  • Prepare and inspire the next generation of think tank leaders
  • Build a community of emerging think tank leaders to support and learn from each other
  • Encourage participants to reflect on their own organisation and how to support its development

We welcome thinktankers from around the world, working in all think tank positions such as researcher, fundraising, communications, project management or human resources; or anyone interested in think tanks and the evidence informed policy world.

The course is designed for early and mid-career thinktankers. But we also welcome policy entrepreneurs interested in setting up their own think tank, recent graduates or experienced thinktankers who are perhaps moving into leadership positions or facing a particular challenge. See the profiles of previous participants here.

If you’d like to read about what we covered in the 2021 School for Thinktankers click here.

Why we set up the School for Thinktankers

The idea of the School for Thinktankers was first developed by On Think Tanks in 2015. We’d been working with and supporting think tanks around the world and could see that more often than not, they were led by people trained as researchers or policymakers, not managers. They joined think tanks to pursue personal or professional ambitions. Now they are responsible for complex budgets, multiple income streams, and the need to communicate with increasingly diverse audiences. It’s difficult to keep up with the all skills and knowledge needed to run a think tank. The School for Thinktankers seeks to help remedy this.