Several think tanks and thinktankers have asked the following questions. We have tried to address them all directly.
1) Who pays for this -The Exchange or the Think Tanks?
The Exchange will pay for travel, accommodation and costs related to catering and any social activities during the events. It will also pay for the organisation of the webinars and there are small amounts put aside to help think tanks cover the cost (stipends) of key note speakers if these were necessary.
We ask, however, that the host think tanks contribute by providing a space for the meeting to take place -since the point of The Exchange is to get to know one another the ideal place to meet is in the think tank itself. We are not looking for impersonal hotel conference rooms!
The researchers will also receive a grant to undertake the collaborative research projects in year two, but only once their proposals have been approved.
2) Is there an age limit?
No. The Exchange is not looking for young or old. Anyone can apply. The idea, though is that those participating are up-and-coming. That they should represent their organisations’ future -to use a cliche.
3) Are the supporting materials important in the application?
Yes. Please send samples of previous work (either attaching them or providing a link) and a supporting letter written and signed by your think tank’s director. These are important as they will provide us with a good sense of the commitment of the organisation.
4) Is it open only to think tanks?
Yes. This is a think tank only initiative. Defining the boundary across the world is difficult but please take your time to think about it. It may be useful to think about who your peers are in your country.
The collaborative projects will be ‘research-heavy’ so be expected to work with other researchers in other regions. You must have excellent basic research skills and an organisation that can support you.
5) Is this just a capacity building initiative?
No. This is not a capacity building initiative. Participants are expected to be good researchers. While some new skills will be learned and they will benefit from meeting experts and working with peers who will be able to share insights into key policy and organisational development issues, the main objective of the initiative is to foster relationships between think tanks.