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.

We are preparing the next edition of the School for Thinktankers, as well as an online version. If you want to find out more when we launch them, please register here and we will be in touch!


The School for Thinktankers is a seven-day programme. It covers five core think tank areas:

  • Think tank governance and management
  • Policy relevant research agendas
  • Communication strategies
  • Fundraising, financial management, and accountability
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning of policy influence

Taught by think tank directors and expert practitioners, the programme is a combination of lectures, guided group work, visits and networking events 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 want to find out more about the 2021 School for Thinktankers please register 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.