So, you want to run a think tank? Lessons from the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government

Think tanks housed in universities are often overlooked by think tank scholars. But exploring the often tenuous and conflict-ridden interactions between university-based think tanks and their hosts can reveal important lessons about how institutions entrusted with generating and disseminating ideas often find themselves at odds.

In this paper, Donald E. Abelson, examines the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia (the only public policy institute in Canada established by a former prime minister).

The study explores several of the most common causes of conflict that can, and often do, drive a wedge between think tanks and universities. In the process, it highlights why both institutions might need to rethink how best to harness and promote the intellectual resources on their campuses.