Raymond Struyk, author of Improving Think Tank Management, writes about staff training needs to address staff turnover, particularly at the junior researcher level and among lower level support staff and, in some cases, as the institution expands. This post focuses tightly on off-site training by vendors and academic institutions and it identifies strong practices many of which are worthy of emulation. It relies heavily on the actual practices at four think tanks I view as well-managed: NORC at the University of Chicago, the Urban Institute, the Results for Development Institute, and the Institute for Urban Economics. The first three are large organizations (measured by staff size, headcounts range from about 150 to more than 1,000) all located in the U.S. The last is in Russia with a staff of about 50. Below these organizations are referred to as “study think tanks.” The practices identified as strong in the text are based on my distillation of material about their practices, from policy and process statements and interviews with responsible staff) and other resources about additional think tanks.
This document is a part of the new OTT Best Practice Series. If you would like to submit a piece on best practice for research and policy institutes, please get in touch.